Antonio Lawrence had 10 points and eight rebounds before fouling out as the Spartans (5-12, 2-6 WAC) jumped to a big first-half lead and held off the Golden Hurricane (11-6, 4-4) for their second surprising conference win under new coach Phil Johnson.
It was San Jose State's first victory in 15 meetings with Tulsa. The Spartans also beat Hawaii earlier this season.
Dante Swanson hit six 3-pointers among his 23 points for Tulsa, but the Golden Hurricane shot less than 38 percent from the field and made 16 turnovers. Kevin Johnson had 11 points and seven rebounds, and Jason Parker added 10 points.
Dante Swanson's three-point attempt sailed toward the basket, and when the ball came down on the rim, Eric Walton made the play of the season!
The Spartans had their 58-57 upset of Tulsa, a 12-point favorite at the Event Center!
``I didn't think Swanson's shot was in,'' said Coach Phil Johnson after the Spartans beat Tulsa for the first time in 15 meetings.
Keith West went up in the lane and the ball slipped out of his hands. It hit the backboard and went in with 2:28 to play for 58-53.
``I meant to shoot it,'' West insisted. ``I just lost the ball. I knew it was going to hit the backboard.''
Losing to a team that came in with only one victory in seven Western Athletic Conference outings didn't sit well with the Golden Hurricane, a team ranked as high as 17th this season.
Swanson declined all interview requests, perhaps figuring he would have to answer to the question of why he went for three points when Tulsa (11-6, 4-4) needed only two.
``It's difficult for me as a coach to know what's going on,'' said Tulsa's John Phillips. ``We ran a play to get the ball in the post, but they wouldn't let us do it. A lot of those shots by Dante went in tonight.''
Johnson had a plan for SJSU (5-12, 2-6), and it worked. He spread the court in what he called an ``open offense,'' which looked like the old four-corners set Dean Smith used to run at North Carolina.
The Spartans, in running down the 35-second shot clock before firing, frustrated Tulsa to such an extent running that Phillips yanked his entire starting five off the court with 14:52 to go in the first half, keeping them on the bench for nearly five minutes.
The Spartans led by as many as 21 points in the first half, going up 37-16 with 2:42 before halftime.
With Swanson contributing eight points, Tulsa ended the half on a 13-2 run that cut SJSU's lead to 39-29.
Tulsa never caught up but came within one point twice, at 51-50 and near the end of the game. Following West's freaky basket, Tulsa's Jason Parker and Kevin Johnson made layups, Johnson's following four offensive rebounds on the same possession.
After Swanson missed Tulsa's last shot, the Golden Hurricane had no choice but to foul. But the Spartans weren't in the penalty, and they inbounded the ball twice before the game ended.
``Maybe we were fortunate we didn't have to shoot free throws,'' said Johnson, whose Spartans entered the game with the WAC's worst free-throw average (hitting from the line at a 60-percent clip).
But on what looked like their night, they made all six they tried from the stripe.
In Womens Action:
Tulsa, Oklahoma - Tulsa sophomore Alison Carney scored a career-high 24 points and senior Allison Curtin added 17 points as the Golden Hurricane chalked up the second largest margin of victory in school history of 37 points with an 89-52 win over San Jose State at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
San Jose State (8-9, 4-4 WAC) scored the game's first basket with a jumper from Tiffany Wells. TU senior Alyssa Shriver tied the game with a lay-up less than a minute later and her bucket proved to be a catalyst for a 9-0 run for the Golden Hurricane.
After the Spartans pulled to within seven points, a Curtin three-pointer gave Tulsa an 11-point advantage. Over the next seven minutes, San Jose State chipped away at the lead and managed to pull to within one-point, 20-19, at the 4:37 mark.
However, the night belonged to Carney and the Altus, Okla., native revived the Hurricane by scoring nine of TU's final 15 points to finish the half and help Tulsa build a 35-22 halftime lead. During the 15-3 run, freshman Megan Moody came off the bench and nailed two treys.
In the second half, the Golden Hurricane continued to roll by shooting 56-percent from the field, while limiting the Spartans to just 35-percent in the final period and 32-percent for the game.
TU's stifling defense also held San Jose State leading scorer Cricket Williams to just nine points, 11 points below her season average.
The Spartans could only cut the deficit to 12 points in the second half as every Tulsa player not only made it on to the floor, but reached the scoring column as well.
For Tulsa (11-8, 6-2 WAC), Carney and Curtin were the only two Hurricane to reach double figures in points, but six other players tallied six or more points. TU outrebounded the Spartans, 46-36, behind Curtin's game-high 13 rebounds.
She also added four assists and five steals on the night. Along with the 24 points, Carney registered career-highs in field goals with 10. The win was Tulsa's fourth straight at home and marked the 50th career victory for TU Head Coach Kathy McConnell-Miller.
Jessica Kellogg led San Jose State with 17 points, while Tatiana Taylor added 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Williams finished 4-of-18 from the field, including 1-of-8 from behind the arc, and also committed eight turnovers.