TULSA, Okla. — Corey Henderson scored a career-high 30 points, including two 3-pointers in the last 37 seconds of regulation, as Tulsa eked out a 90-88 double overtime victory over UConn to remain unbeaten in the American Conference.
Tulsa (10-5, 3-0) got two free throws by Henderson with 22 seconds left and one by Sterling Taplin with 10 seconds left in the second overtime to go ahead 90-88 and had to survive two UConn misses in the final seconds. Jalen Adams, who led the Huskies with 29 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, missed on a drive, and Terry Larrier, who had 19 points and eight rebounds, missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Taplin scored 15 points, Martins Igbanu had 14 with 10 rebounds, Elijah Joiner 13 points and Junior Etou 10 points and 10 rebounds for Tulsa, which made 17 of 41 3-pointers, including a career-high 8 of 15 by Henderson.
Christian Vital had 22 points for the Huskies (7-7, 0-2), who lost their fourth consecutive game.
UConn coach Kevin Ollie gave both teams credit for making huge plays at crucial times, but was puzzled by the free throw disparity. Tulsa made 25 of 36 while UConn 9 of 14.
“A lot of free throws going in for them and not so many for us,” Ollie said. “I thought we drove the ball just as hard as they did.”
Ollie praised Henderson’s 3-pointer at the end of regulation and said he didn’t consider fouling before he had a chance to launch the tying trey.
“He made a good head fake, dribbled right and he just made a hell of a shot,” Ollie said. “That is what happened. He made a good shot.”
Tulsa coach Frank Haith also had high praise for Henderson, a senior guard who transferred to Tulsa as a junior from Blinn (Texas) Junior College.
“He was having one of those nights but he’s very capable of that,” Haith said. “They were doing a great job on Etou, doubling him all night, so other guys had to step up.”
Henderson made two free throws and three 3-pointers as Tulsa rallied from a 31-29 deficit to a 42-36 halftime lead in the final 4:32. Henderson finished the first half with 17 points, making 5 of 8 3-pointers.
Tulsa made 10 of 16 3-pointers in the first half (62.5 percent) to overcome a scoreless half from leading scorer Etou. Both Joiner and Geno Artison made both their 3-point attempts off the bench.
For the game, Tulsa shot just 37.5 percent (24 of 64), meaning they were just 7 of 28 on two-point shots. The Hurricane did outbound UConn 53-45.
Tulsa made 25 of 36 free throws but missed several key tosses, including one by Joiner with six seconds left in the first overtime that would have put Tulsa ahead. Taplin made 1 of 2 with 10 seconds remaining, allowing UConn chances to tie or win at the end.
UConn nearly matched Tulsa in 3-point accuracy, making 11 of 29 (38 percent), but attempted just 14 free throws to Tulsa’s 36, making nine.
UConn led by one in the first overtime and had the ball with under 10 seconds left, but Taplin forced a turnover and Joiner drove hard and was fouled with six second left, making one of two to tie the game and force a second OT.
Despite the loss, Ollie was encouraged that the Huskies had just seven turnovers against 18 assists in the 50 minutes of play.
“We’re heading in the right direction,” he said. “We are sharing the basketball and we understand what we have to do to win games and we are going to start winning our share.”
Haith would agree.
“Jalen Adams is a load,” Haith said. “He and Vital and Larrier are all great players. That’s a good team and they’ve played a treacherous schedule. We needed every one of those 3-pointers we made tonight.”
UConn returns home for a two-game stand beginning Saturday against East Carolina followed by a visit from UCF on Jan. 10.
Tulsa goes on the road to play Memphis and former TU coach Tubby Smith Saturday followed by a trip to Houston Jan. 11.