It’s a bit of a puzzle: when is a game both an exhibition and a competition in the regular season?
Answer: If it’s the Northeastern State River, hawks visit the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Thursday afternoon.
The game will be an exhibition for NSU (5-17), which has at least officially ended its season.
But for Tulsa (10-11) this is a regular season game. This should help Tulsa prepare for the American Athletic Conference tournament, which will take place March 11-14 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Tulsa had originally set a game for Sunday at SMU. However, this game was canceled due to an interruption in activities at the SMU.
The Golden Hurricane has lost two games and coach Frank Haith would like to get a win and some momentum before the AAC tournament begins.
Tulsa’s last game was a 73-69 loss in central Florida on Tuesday. The Golden Hurricane was 4pm behind at halftime but played well after the break. Still, 12 sales in the first half were too many to overcome.
“We were very shy,” said Haith, whose team only turned the ball twice in the second half. “We dug a hole in the first half. We performed better in the second half.”
“I can’t fault how hard our boys fought in the second half.”
The good news for Tulsa is that the top nine players appear to be healthy. This includes Brandon Rachal, who leads the team on points (14.6), rebounds (7.0), steals (1.5) and blocks (0.8).
Elijah Joiner leads Tulsa in assists (3.6) while he ranks second in scoring (11.3) and rebounds (4.3).
But the Golden Hurricane haven’t won any straight games since January 6, when they played a winning streak in six games. Other than that, they haven’t won any games in a row for the entire season.
NSU, who are 4:16 against Tulsa, scored a 78:76 win over Rogers State in their last game, played at home on Saturday.
The RiverHawks, an NCAA Division II program, led less than three minutes in that game and rallied after a 15-point deficit to secure victory.
“It’s been a tough year,” said NSU coach Ja Havens after defeating Rogers State. “But we won our last two home games against good teams. I’m proud of our boys.”
Now the RiverHawks have one more chance to hold their own this season in a game that doesn’t count … and yet.
– Field level media