ORU Men Roll In Exhibition Opener
In the first exhibition game of the year, Oral Roberts used a 15-0 run in the second half to put away Missouri Southern 83-66, Thursday night at the Mabee Center.
Shawn Glover led the way for ORU with 22 points in his long-awaited debut, while Steven Roundtree added 21 points, including a game-high 9-of-10 mark from the free throw line. Damen Bell-Holter had six points but a game-high 15 rebounds, the most for a Golden Eagle since Michael Craion had 16 against UMKC last season. ORU's starting backcourt of Warren Niles and Korey Billbury each dropped in 12 points for the Golden Eagles, combining for five of the team's 11 assists. D.J. Jackson tied Billbury for a team-high three assists as the pair made their ORU debut. All but one of the nine players who saw action for ORU got in the scoring column.
For MSSU, Jordan Talbert led the way with 18 points, while Marquis Addison dropped in 14.
ORU had a 35-24 rebounding advantage and took advantage of opportunities to get out and run with an 18-11 advantage in fast break points. The Golden Eagles shot 58.3 percent from the field, despite a 2-of-8 mark from 3-point range, the best field goal percentage since hitting 60 percent against North Dakota State on February 4 of last season.
"There were a lot of good things and a lot of bad things, but overall I'm pleased with the way we played," said Coach Scott Sutton. "Our defense is not where it needs to be obviously but at the same time we have only practiced for a couple of weeks. I was really pleased with our new guys. D.J. and Korey really gave us a great spark and Shawn Glover didn't look like he hadn't played a game in over two years, he was terrific. I think we have a very high ceiling because those young guys are going to continue to get better and better."
After a somewhat slow start offensively and trailing 8-6, last year's spark off the bench, Roundtree, came to life. Starting with a Roundtree steal in the back-court that led to a Glover jumper, the Golden Eagles went on a 16-0 run, including eight points by Roundtree, which put ORU up 22-8 midway through the first half.
Missouri Southern answered with a 10-2 run to make it a 24-18 game and the two teams would battle back and forth for the next few minutes.
Back-to-back baskets, including a three-pointer by Morgan Smith and a layup by Talbert made it a four-point game, and a 29-25 ORU lead.
Free throws by the Golden Eagles, including a pair each by Roundtree and Bell-Holter, pushed the lead back out to eight with less than a minute to go in the half, and ORU ended the half on a 6-2 run and took a 37-29 lead into the locker room.
After giving up a free throw to start the second half, ORU rattled off another massive run, this time a 15-0 spurt, to extend the lead out to 22, 52-30.The Lions finally got a couple more points from the free throw line, but their first field goal didn't come until 7:25 into the second half and MSSU cut the lead back under 20 momentarily after a pair of free throws and a Marquis Addison 3-pointer made it a 55-39 ORU advantage.
A fastbreak layup with 7:49 to go made it a 12-point game again, doing so for the first time since the 18:17 mark of the second half.
ORU would not panic and quickly extended the lead back out to as many as 20 (77-57) and cruised home to the victory.
The Golden Eagles will return to the court on Monday, November 5 at 7 p.m. as they take on the Eagles from Oklahoma Wesleyan in the final exhibition contest. The regular season starts November 9 with a trip to UTEP.