Slow Start Hampers ORU in Loss to Oakland

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations

TULSA—All five Oakland starters scored in double figures and Oral Roberts couldn’t overcome an early deficit in suffering an 85-77 Summit League setback, Thursday at Mabee Center. The result overshadowed a stellar effort by ORU’sDominique Morrison (Kansas City, Mo.), who scored a game-high 32 points.

Oakland (9-8 overall, 4-0 Summit) was led by its frontcourt tandem of Keith Benson and Will Hudson. Benson had 20 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks, while Hudson scored 20 and grabbed 10 boards of his own.

The Golden Grizzles pounced on ORU (5-10, 2-2) from the start, jumping out to a 24-7 lead less than eight minutes into the game. But the Golden Eagles slowly chipped away as the first half progressed.

Trailing 31-16 with 7:36 left in the half ORU closed out the first half on a 28-13 run. Three straight layups by freshman Steven Roundtree (Jacksonville, Fla.) pulled ORU to within 38-28. Morrison hit a layup and Warren Niles (Cincinnati, Ohio) canned a three-pointer to make it 42-33 with 1:01 remaining. Roderick Pearson’s (Kansas City, Mo.) three-pointer just before the halftime buzzer trimmed the lead to 44-36 at the break.

The Golden Eagles continued their strong play early in the second half. Three-pointers by Damen Bell-Holter (Hydaburg, Alaska) and Morrison, sandwiched around a layup by Ken Holdman (Tulsa, Okla.), pulled ORU to within 45-44 with 17:36 remaining.

ORU took its first lead since the game’s opening moments when a layup by Morrison gave the Golden Eagles a 48-47 edge with 16:26 left. The next two minutes featured three ties and one lead change before the Golden Grizzlies went ahead for good at 54-52 on an offensive rebound and dunk by Benson with 14:20 to go.

But the Golden Eagles made it interesting down the stretch. After Oakland pushed its lead back up to as many as nine points, ORU came back. Trailing 65-56 with 9:01 left the Golden Eagles got a Roundtree free throw, a layup by Pearson and five straight points by Morrison to pull within 67-64 with 7:14 left. 

ORU trimmed the deficit down to two points four times over the next five minutes but couldn’t get the key stop or basket when it needed it.

Morrison finished the game 11-of-14 form the field, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, and 7-of-9 at the free throw line for his second 30-point game of the season. 

Roundtree was the only other Golden Eagle in double figures, scoring a season-high 21 points.

Joining Benson and Hudson in double figures for Oakland were Drew Valentine with 14, Reggie Hamilton with 12 and Travis Bader with 11.

The Golden Grizzlies shot 56 percent for the game, while ORU hit 47 percent of its shots. Oakland owned a distinct advantage at the free throw line, converting 24-of-32 attempts, while ORU was just 13-of-27.

Oakland out-rebounded ORU, 40-29.

Updated 01-03-2011

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