Archive for Wednesday, December 11, 2002

20th-ranked Jayhawks leery of No. 17 Tulsa

December 11, 2002


— Tulsa University has one of the tiniest major-college basketball backcourts in the country. The 17th-ranked Golden Hurricane also have one of the best in Dante Swanson and Antonio Reed, both 5-foot-10.

Swanson is averaging 16.0 points per game and Reed 9.2 heading into tonightâÂÂs clash with No. 20 Kansas University.

âÂÂAre they that much better than any other guard combination in a quality program? Probably not,â second-year Tulsa coach John Phillips said. âÂÂThey are both characters. Reporters get around them and like them and try to pub âÂÂem up.âÂÂ

Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. at the Reynolds Center on the TU campus. The game will be televised live on the KU Network (channels 13 and 38).

Reed has been slowed recently by an ankle sprain so Jarius Glenn, a 6-6 sophomore guard/forward from Decatur, Ga., is ready to step in if needed, Phillips said.

Swanson hails from nearby Wagoner, Okla., while Reed is from Tulsa.

âÂÂThey are both very good players,â Phillips said. âÂÂIt just so happens we recruited them thinking they could both play at the same time. It worked out well for us. They have tremendous competitive desire and have helped us win a bunch of ballgames in three years.âÂÂ

The duo helped Tulsa to a 27-7 record a year ago, Phillipsâ first season after being promoted from assistant to head coach. One of the seven losses was a 93-85 setback to KU last December in Kansas CityâÂÂs Kemper Arena. Swanson and Reed each scored 23 points in that game.

âÂÂThey are a very experienced team with Reed and Swanson and Parker in the backcourt and Johnson may be as good a player in their league (Western Athletic Conference),â KU coach Roy Williams said. âÂÂThey have been successful and know how to win.âÂÂ

Jason Parker, a 6-2 junior from Tulsa, averages a team-leading 17.5 points a game, while Kevin Johnson, a 6-8 senior forward from Missouri City, Texas, contributes 17 points a contest.

âÂÂWe do have very good guards,â Phillips said, âÂÂbut I like all our players. We are pretty balanced. Actually, our team defense is keyed on everybody helping each other.âÂÂ

Phillipsâ first TU team beat Marquette before falling to Kentucky by five points in last yearâÂÂs NCAA Tournament. The year before, under Buzz Peterson, Tulsa won the NIT.

Prior to that, in Bill SelfâÂÂs final year, Tulsa went 32-5, losing to North Carolina in the Elite Eight.

Tonight No. 17 Tulsa surprisingly has a higher ranking than No. 20 Kansas, meaning this might not be the best time for TU to be playing KU.

âÂÂProbably not. I was hoping theyâÂÂd be undefeated, to be quite honest,â Phillips said. âÂÂIâÂÂd prefer they come in undefeated, fat and sassy, looking at us saying, âÂÂ'Those guys arenâÂÂt very good, letâÂÂs go get us another one.â We know it wonâÂÂt be that case now. We know they are wounded and hungry.âÂÂ

The Jayhawks are well aware they will have to play well to defeat the Hurricane because theyâÂÂre 0-3 in games outside of Allen Fieldhouse.

âÂÂTulsa is a great team,â KU senior guard Kirk Hinrich said. âÂÂThey have shooters, inside play and great guards. Last year, that was a tough game. WeâÂÂre going to be on their home court, playing somebody like that on their home court is tough.âÂÂ

ESPN Magazine recently quoted guards Reed and Swanson saying the Hurricane had enough talent to win it all this season.

âÂÂForget the Final Four,â Reed said. âÂÂWeâÂÂll accept nothing less than first place.âÂÂ

Williams and the KU players read that piece in the national magazine.

âÂÂTheyâÂÂve been looking forward to this game a long time,â Williams noted. âÂÂThey said in ESPN Magazine they canâÂÂt wait to get Kansas in Tulsa. They donâÂÂt get that many top 25, top 40 teams to come in and play them at their place.âÂÂ

If KU hopes to make something big out of its season, a victory tonight might be pivotal.

âÂÂWe have to go out there and play our game,â KU junior Bryant Nash said. âÂÂWe know we can win games. If we go down there and beat Tulsa, thatâÂÂs one win compared to all the other games we still have to play. We have to go out and play those games just as tough.âÂÂ

KU will return home to meet Emporia State at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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