STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Tulsa's defense bought its offense time to find its way in a 66-56 win over Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.
James Woodard scored 15 points and Shaquille Harrison added 14 for the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa's offense struggled in the first half, but the Golden Hurricane shot 54 percent from the floor after the break and held Oklahoma State to 26 percent shooting in the second half.
''That's something for our guys to understand,'' Tulsa coach Frank Haith said. ''That's who we are. The offense is going to come and go, but that's (defense) something that has to stay every time we play.''
Tulsa (5-2) opened the season with four straight wins, including a victory over then-ranked Wichita State, then lost to South Carolina and Arkansas-Little Rock before bouncing back against the Cowboys.
''Obviously it was a great win for us,'' Haith said. ''It was great to be on the road and get the win. I thought our guys played with toughness. We looked at the stat line, and we had to get back to doing the little things on the defensive end. Against Little Rock, we were not filling that line.''
Woodard missed his first three shots before making 5 of 9 the rest of the way. He appeared to tweak his right ankle and went to the bench with 11:28 left in the game, but he returned a few minutes later.
Jawun Evans led Oklahoma State (5-2) with 11 points and had moments of brilliance, but the freshman point guard had one assist and five turnovers before fouling out.
Harrison's fast break dunk with 17 seconds left in the first half gave Tulsa a 26-25 lead. Tyree Griffin's free throws on the other end with 8.4 seconds left in the first half gave the Cowboys a 27-26 lead at the break. The teams combined to make just 15 of 50 shots in the first half. There were seven lead changes before the break, and neither team led by more than five points.
The game stayed even early in the second half, but it turned for good when Marquel Curtis stole the ball from Evans, then scored and drew Evans' fourth foul. Curtis made the free throw to give Tulsa a 57-49 lead with 4:03 to play.
''We didn't execute,'' Oklahoma State guard Jeff Newberry said. ''We didn't take care of the ball. We have to hit more shots. We have to defend better. We had a lot of breakdowns toward the end of the shot clock.''
Tulsa: Made 4 of 14 3-pointers in the first half. ... Was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the first half. ... Curtis scored 10 points. ... Tulsa made just one of its first nine shots.
Oklahoma State: Anthony Allen, who had 15 blocks in the past four games, had none against Tulsa. ... The Cowboys made 22 of 25 free throws. ... Mitchell Solomon had nine points and a career-high nine rebounds. ... No player had more than two assists. ... Five players attempted at least one 3-pointer without making one.
Phil Forte, the Cowboys' No. 2 scorer last year, missed his fourth straight game with a torn ligament in his left elbow after playing 102 games in a row. He's fourth all-time at Oklahoma State in made 3-pointers with 244. Without him, the Cowboys made 1 of 6 3-pointers in the first half and 2 of 19 overall against Tulsa.
''Every game we're going to miss Phil,'' coach Travis Ford said. ''That's our captain, that's our guy. We could have used a couple 3s from him tonight. I give them (Tulsa) all the credit. They played hard, they played great, and that was a really good team we played against.''
Harrison entered the game averaging 20.2 points per contest. He made 4 of 11 shots against Oklahoma State, but 5 of 5 free throws.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
''We gave up too many layups in the second half,'' Ford said. ''We gave up a ton of second chance layups, three second-shot layups, several fast-break-off-turnover layups. We just gave them too many easy opportunities in the second half.''
Tulsa plays at Oral Roberts on Saturday.
Oklahoma State plays host to Missouri State on Saturday.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter (at)CliffBruntAP.