Mo­ment of truth

OSU strug­gles in­side when the junior gets in foul trou­ble, like against Tulsa

Tulsa World - - Sports - By Mark Cooper By Eric Bai­ley have they talked

Cameron McGriff fought for lever­age down low on one of Ok­la­homa State's first pos­ses­sions when he was whis­tled for an of­fen­sive foul.

Mo­ments later, he was fight­ing for a de­fen­sive re­bound when he bumped a Tulsa player and was called for foul No. 2.

Ninety sec­onds into Wed­nes­day's 74-71 loss at TU, McGriff took a seat on the bench. Mike Boyn­ton be­gan to try and ma­neu­ver his way through a half

NEW YORK — There will be some anx­ious mo­ments be­fore the 2018 Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner is re­vealed.

ESPN's cam­eras will shift from Ok­la­homa's Kyler Mur­ray, Alabama's Tua Tago­v­ailoa and Ohio State's Dwayne Hask­ins to catch an emo­tional re­ac­tion on Satur­day night.

For the first time in three years, there will be some in­trigue when the an­nounce­ment is made. In 2016 (Louisville's La­mar Jack­son) and 2017 (OU's Baker May­field), the un­veil­ing was more cer­e­mo­nial.

In the past week, odd­s­mak­ers made Mur­ray the fa­vorite over Tago­v­ailoa to win the 84th Heis­man Tro­phy.

“I think it's fun for us as the guys who can win it, I think it's a lit­tle anx­ious, you know, to see who's go­ing to win,” Mur­ray said dur­ing a Fri­day news con­fer­ence at the New York Stock Ex­change. “But I think this has been one of the best years in col­lege foot­ball in a while as far as of­fenses and the num­bers that those guys put up are crazy. For me to be lead­ing one of the most — I think we're the most ex­plo­sive Heis­man Tro­phy cer­e­mony of­fense to ever be a part of col­lege foot­ball I think — for me it's pretty crazy. “It's been a fun year.” The trio ar­rived in the New York City on Fri­day morn­ing. They met with me­dia dur­ing a 30-minute ses­sion be­fore ring­ing the NYSE's closing bell to­gether.

The quar­ter­back was asked what it would be like to fol­low for­mer team­mate May­field and win the Heis­man Tro­phy.

“That'd be pretty crazy. Him be­ing from Texas and me be­ing from Texas, he's one of my boys,” Mur­ray said. “It'd be ... a great, great deal for me. I know he wants to see me win it. I know Sooner Na­tion wants to see me win. For us to go back-to-back would be pretty amaz­ing.”

Mur­ray said he's spo­ken with May­field much of the week.

What about?

“I asked him if I should start him on my fan­tasy team,” Mur­ray said, draw­ing laugh­ter. “He told me yeah. We were just talk­ing.”

The foot­ball-base­ball nar­ra­tive con­tin­ued with ques­tions com­ing from na­tional me­dia.

Mur­ray, of course, was a first-round se­lec­tion by the Oak­land Ath­let­ics in the 2018 Ma­jor League Base­ball draft. The player was asked of­ten about leav­ing the door open for a re­turn to foot­ball.

“I'm just tak­ing it one day at a time. I don't re­ally — I'm not re­ally think­ing about base­ball right now,” Mur­ray said. “My fo­cus is solely on, you know, just play­offs.”

made his first four shots to ig­nite the Hur­ri­cane and help de­liver a 74-71 win.

“When we were strug­gling scor­ing, he came in off the bench and made some big shots and got us go­ing a lit­tle bit,” Tulsa coach Frank Haith said. “He's an im­por­tant guy for us. He's start­ing to get his rhythm.”

Horne, a trans­fer from Ne­braska who sat out last sea­son, has scored 31 of his 74 points this sea­son in the past two games while earn­ing more play­ing time. He pro­vided many of the TU high­lights in last week's loss at Utah, pro­duc­ing 15 points in the sec­ond half.

“I'm trust­ing in my team­mates to find me,” Horne said. “Whether I get no min­utes or a lot of min­utes, I'll do what­ever it takes to win. Scor­ing is some­thing that I've been blessed to do.”

On a team filled with vet­er­ans, in­clud­ing a start­ing lineup of up­per­class­men, Horne has taken on the largest role of the team's five new­com­ers.

“They've all had mo­ments,” Haith said. “We've got to con­tinue to grow those guys and to con­tinue to de­velop them to where they're consistent. WOMEN'S BAS­KET­BALL

“I think Je­riah is start­ing to hit his stride a lit­tle bit. We need him to hit his stride. I think we've seen him play­ing a lot bet­ter, and we've got to bring those other guys along and get them more consistent.”

On Satur­day af­ter­noon, TU hosts No. 16 Kansas State, a team it de­feated 61-54 last year in Wi­chita, Kansas. The Wild­cats went on to have a record­set­ting sea­son that con­cluded with a trip to the Elite Eight.

“Be­cause of what they did in the post­sea­son, ob­vi­ously that was (among TU's best wins) ... and we didn't have Quan (lead­ing scorer DaQuan Jef­fries, who was in­jured),” Haith said. “It was a great win for us last year.”

Against Kansas State, which re­turned all five starters and was picked to fin­ish sec­ond in the Big 12, the Hur­ri­cane has won six of seven meet­ings in the se­ries — in­clud­ing all three games in Tulsa. TU has pre­vailed in 12 con­sec­u­tive home games, mov­ing to 6-0 this year with the vic­tory against OSU.

“I think it's a big win for us es­pe­cially go­ing into (a game against) an­other Big 12 team this week­end,” Jef­fries said Wed­nes­day night. “I think there's a lot of mo­ti­va­tion for us.”

IAN MAULE/ Tulsa World file

New York7 p.m. Satur­day ESPN Ok­la­homa quar­ter­back Kyler Mur­ray shakes hands with fans af­ter his team's win over West Vir­ginia Nov. 23 at Moun­taineer Field at Mi­lan Puskar Sta­dium in Mor­gan­town, W.Va. Mur­ray is one of three fi­nal­ists for the Heis­man Tro­phy, which will be awarded Satur­day night in New York.

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