Tulsa wins 2014 Conference USA basketball tournament

Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sp

James Woodard led the way for Tulsa on Saturday in their win over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

James Woodard's strong performance led the Tulsa Golden Hurricane to a 69-60 Conference USA championship win over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on Saturday.

Woodard finished with a game-high 27 points and was the offensive catalyst for Tulsa in what was initially a low-scoring affair. The Hurricanes earned a NCAA Tournament berth with the win. Their last loss came on Feb. 6.

The game was close for nearly the entire first half, with eight lead changes. Tulsa had the biggest lead with just five points, early on in the half. Both teams made it rain from beyond the arc, combining to make 11 of 17 three-point shots. Louisiana Tech held tight and took a slim 35-34 lead into halftime.

Neither team managed to pull away early in the second half, but the Golden Hurricane finally created some distance with a 7-0 run. Kenyon McNeail helped erase Tulsa's five point lead with two three-pointers off the bench to give Louisiana Tech a 51-50 with 7:57 left in the game. McNeail finished with 15 points.

The game remained close until there was just 4:18 remaining in the second half, when Tulsa achieved their largest lead of the game at 57-51. They never looked back, holding off a late Bulldogs rally in the final minutes to win the Conference USA title.

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