TULSA — Three games into his college coaching career, Isiah Thomas was already asking for mercy.
Midway through the second half of Florida International’s 81-49 loss at Tulsa on Sunday, Thomas motioned toward his counterpart as if to ask when he’d take his starters out.
A few minutes later, he got vocal with his request, shouting a few words in the direction of Golden Hurricane coach Doug Wojcik. FIU (0-3) was down 63-25 with 8:59 to play after being outscored 27-5 to start the second half.
"It’s a 40-minute game. If you want the truth of it, go back to the (North) Carolina game Monday night, when Carolina was pressing them with 3 minutes left,” Wojcik said, referring to FIU’s 88-72 loss at North Carolina. "I don’t press, and I don’t embarrass anybody. But it’s a 40-minute game, and I’m in this game to get better.
"I’ve never seen anything like that. It was very bizarre.”
Wojcik, who was putting leading scorer Ben Uzoh back into the game, looked back at Thomas and shrugged his shoulders. He pulled 7-footer Jerome Jordan shortly thereafter and Uzoh with more than 5 minutes remaining. He had emptied his entire bench with 3 minutes left.
Wojcik explained that he had only eight scholarship players available.
"There’s 10 minutes left in the game and, to be honest with you, I only have so many guys,” Wojcik said.
Uzoh scored 20 points and Justin Hurtt added 16 to lead Tulsa (2-0).