ORU Win Close One On West Coast
Oral Roberts got 56 of 69 points from three starters, including late baskets by Warren Niles as the Golden Eagles started a four-game road streak with a 69-67 victory at Pacific late Monday night.
The Golden Eagles (2-1) led for more than 35 minutes of the game but found themselves trailing late as Pacific (1-2) continued to hit from beyond the arc, connecting on 10 3-pointers in the game, and leading with less than four minutes to play.
"It was a great win," said Coach Scott Sutton. "Any time you can go on the road and get a win this early in the year it takes a terrific effort. I'm really proud of our guys. I thought we played really well and built an 11-point lead but we turned the ball over and let them back in it. When they took a three-point lead I was really proud of how they responded. I thought they overcame some adversity and I thought they grew up a little bit tonight to fight back and win a tough basketball game. I'm really proud of these guys. Warren made some big time plays, Steven made some big time plays and Damen did as well. Your veteran guys have to step up and make plays, especially on the road, and they did that tonight."
Down one with 3:16 to go, ORU got a 3-pointer by Damen Bell-Holter--his first of the season--and ORU would never trail again. A Ross Rivera jumper tied the game for the eighth time, but back-to-back baskets by Niles, part of his 26-point effort, iced the game for ORU.
Niles scored 26-plus for the second game in a row after dropping 29 against St. Gregory's, while Steven Roundtree added 19 points and Bell-Holter had his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds, leading ORU to a 36-22 rebounding advantage.
Lorenzo McCloud had 13 points to lead the Tigers, while Khalil Kelley added 11 points. Including those two, the Tigers had seven players score at least eight points in the game.
In addition to dominating the boards, ORU also held commanding advantages in the paint (32-20) and second-chance points (10-4) but were out-scored 26-3 off the bench.
Up by five early (13-8), the Golden Eagles got a couple of easy steals with the full-court press and put the pressure on. A three-ball by Niles gave ORU a 20-14 lead with 11:51 to go in the first half.
ORU would push the lead back out one more to seven at the 6:40 mark, but back came Pacific as they cut it to a two point game at 26-24. More Pacific turnovers led to easy buckets on the other end and the lead quickly swelled back to eight at 32-24.
Pacific went back to work and cut it to a three-point game, and Tony Gill answered a Mikey Manghum 3-pointer with one of his own to end the half, giving ORU the 37-34 halftime lead.
The first eight points of the second half belonged to the Golden Eagles as they extended the lead to 11 at 45-34. Just like the first half, the Tigers would not go away and cut it down to a two-point game (50-48) at the 11:30 mark in the second half, and would go on to tie the game at 57-57 with seven minutes to play.
With a 3-pointer from Trevin Harris, Pacific took its first lead since 2-0 to start the game at 60-57 with 6:41 to go.
ORU will stay on the road and head to Anchorage, Alaska, for three games as part of the Great Alaska Shootout, beginning with an 8 p.m. (CT) tip-off against Loyola Marymount on Thursday, November 22.