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February 18, 2012

Tulsa cruises past Owls

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Jordan Clarkson scored 23 points, Steven Idlet added 18 and Tulsa closed the game on a 20-3 run to defeat Rice 69-50 Saturday night.

"That was a great win for us," said Tulsa head coach Doug Wojcik. "Jordan Clarkson is a player for us, isn't he? He's a baller and just played a great game. Obviously, I think we had that low point there. I don't know exactly how many minutes it was. We had 44 points, we were kind of rolling pretty good and then we had some strange lineups due to a little fatigue.

"Steven Idlet played us through with his free-throw shooting in that stretch and then we kind of broke away."

Clarkson hit 5 of 6 3-pointers - he was 6 for 12 overall from the floor - and was perfect on six free-throw attempts for the Golden Hurricane (16-11, 9-4 Conference USA), who have won nine of their past 11 games and defeated Rice for the 12th straight time.

"We had beaten Rice 11 straight times," said Wojcik. "You can't have your team let up and take someone for granted, and our kids didn't, and then, I think, at some point they start to question themselves. But the constant throughout the game, even though I'm talking a lot about offense, has been our defense. Our defense was phenomenal. We really did a good job.

"They did a good job on Arsalan Kazemi, did a good job on Tamir Jackson. He got eight points, and he's been playing really well. Connor Frizzelle had 11 points, but he had to work to get those 11 points. But it was a great team win for us."

The Owls (15-12, 6-6) got 11 points from Connor Frizzelle and 10 from Omar Oraby.

"The guy that's impressive to me is Omar Oraby," Wojcik explained. "He's a real talent. I think he has a chance to play in the NBA. His jump shot in the first half looked really impressive. We already know he's got size and can get deep in the post."

Rice was within 49-47 after Frizzelle hit a pair of free throws with 7:47 remaining. But Idlet hit six straight free throws and Clarkson followed with two more as the Hurricane pulled away down the stretch. Idlet had 10 points during the final surge, including a fast-break dunk with 1:02 remaining that closed out the scoring.

"It was good to see Steven (Idlet) play well," said Clarkson. "I thought we played well as a team. Tim (Peete) really set the tone for us early in the game. In the second half, the reason that we got that push is because of Steven."

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