TULSA, Okla. Jerome Jordan scored 18 points, including two clinching free throws, to help lead Tulsa to a 73-68 victory over Bradley in the first game of a best-of-three series in the College Basketball Invitational finals on Monday.
Jordan, who also had 13 rebounds and four blocks, ignited a 13-3 run by slamming home a lob from Ben Uzoh to give the Golden Hurricane (24-13) a 49-48 lead.
After an inside basket by Sam Mitchell, Uzoh scored on a drive and a 3-pointer and Jordan scored inside. Uzoh then made one of two free throws, created a steal and passed ahead to Brett McDade for a layup to give Tulsa a 61-51 advantage with 4:44 to play.
A steal and layup by Daniel Ruffin started a Bradley rally that cut the lead to 65-57 with 2:52 left. Bradley got within 66-64 on a 3-pointer by Sam Maniscalco with 1:25 remaining.
After McDade hit two free throws for Tulsa with 52 seconds left, Bradley (20-16) missed three 3s on its next possession.
Free throws by Jordan and Rod Earls sealed the win.
Game 2 of the series will be played Wednesday night at Bradley. Game 3, if necessary, would be Friday at Tulsa.