No. 14 Tulsa 93, TCU 71
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) _ David Shelton, who provided a spark off the bench throughout the regular season for Tulsa, did it again Friday night as the Golden Hurricane captured a spot in the Western Athletic Conference title game.
Shelton scored 18 of his 24 points in the first half as Tulsa (29-3) beat TCU 93-71 in a tournament semifinal. Tulsa, the WAC regular-season champion, will face Fresno State or Hawaii in Saturday night’s title game.
Marcus Hill added 16, Eric Coley had 14 and Brandon Kurtz had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Tulsa.
Marquise Gainous had 20 points and Estell Laster had 18 for TCU (18-14), which began the week second in the nation in scoring with 88.6 points per game.
Gainous moved into 10th place on the TCU career scoring list with 1,228 points in two seasons with the Horned Frogs after transferring from a junior college in Florida.
Tulsa trailed 17-12 when Shelton entered the game with 7 1/2 minutes gone in the first half. He hit seven of his eight shots in the half, including a pair of 3-pointers, as the Hurricane took a 46-36 halftime lead.
After entering the game, Shelton immediately set up Tony Heard for a 3-pointer and then tied the game with a steal and layup. He scored 10 straight points for Tulsa later in the half, including consecutive 3-pointers that built the Hurricane lead to 39-30 with 3:07 remaining.
Shelton was Tulsa’s leading scorer this season, averaging 13.5 points, but made just two starts. The junior college transfer is playing his first season for the Hurricane.
Tulsa never was threatened in the second half. Shelton and Coley had consecutive layups to give the Hurricane a 69-52 lead with 11:55 remaining, and TCU didn’t get closer than 12 points the rest of the game.