Streak Continues as ORU Wins 93-86 Shootout Over Oakland
Both teams shot better than 55 percent and combined for 25 3-pointers, but Oral Roberts emerged victorious, taking down Oakland 93-86 in front of a Mabee Center crowd of 9,005. It was the largest home crowd of the season, and second this season only to the 9,678 who watch ORU take down then eighth-ranked Xavier.
With the victory, ORU (18-4, 10-0) has won its 17th regular season conference game in a row, the second longest streak in Summit League history, only to Oakland's record 20 games. The Golden Eagles have also registered the regular season sweep over Oakland (11-11, 5-5), after the Grizzlies took all three meetings from ORU last year. The Golden Eagles also have 11 consecutive victories this season, tying the fourth-longest winning streak in school history at the Division I level.
Warren Niles hit a career-high seven treys for ORU en route to a team and season high 28 points. Dominique Morrison added 24 points hitting both 3-point attempts, while Michael Craion had 14 points and seven rebounds. Roderick Pearson had 11 points and a game-high eight assists. Adding to the cause off the bench was Steven Roundtree, who had nine points and a game-high eight rebounds, including four offensive boards.
Reggie Hamilton scored a game-high 30 points including seven of the Grizzlies' 15 3-pointers, while Travis Bader added 17 points and Drew Valentine had 15. The 15 treys hit by the Grizzlies was one off the opponent record of 16, set by Louisville in January of 1993. OU hit 60 percent (9-15) in the first half from beyond the arc and ended the game with a 56.6 percent mark (30-53) for the game with a 53.6 percent (15-28) effort from 3-point range.
ORU shot an incredible 73 percent (19-26) in the first half, the hottest half offensively since the first game against Oakland when they shot 77.8 percent (21-27) in the second half. Despite the hot-shooting, ORU found themselves down one at the break after a long 3-pointer by Hamilton.
"First of all I thought that was as good of a game as I've ever seen in the Mabee Center and I've been here almost 17 years," said Coach Scott Sutton. "I thought both teams played at such a high level, especially on the offensive end. Guys were making shots, guys were playing hard. We saw a great performance out of Reggie Hamilton. It's a shame some of these guys don't get the recognition nationally that they deserve like Reggie Hamilton, Nate Wolters and Dominique Morrison. You hear coaches say this but I thought it was a shame that someone had to lose. I thought both teams played well enough to win."
The 3-point barrage started early and kept the Grizzlies in the game as Laval Lucas-Perry banked in a three to give OU a 25-24 lead midway through the first half as they hit six of their first eight 3-point attempts. They continued on the torrid pace, hitting nine of 15 in the half (60 percent), including a long one by Hamilton with time winding down that gave Oakland a 46-45 halftime lead.
The shot put Oakland up by one after a half that had six ties and nine lead changes with ORU holding the largest lead (6) less than four minutes into the game. It also appeared to be a big shot because until Saturday, Oakland had never lost after holding a halftime lead.
More 3-pointers by Hamilton and one by Valentine, contributed to a 12-2 run in the second half, giving Oakland the largest lead of the game for either team at 10, 65-55. An offensive rebound and traditional 3-point play on a put-back by Roundtree stopped the momentum momentarily, getting the lead back down to single digits.
A steal and two free throws by Pearson after an intentional foul kept the run going and in all it would be a 12-2 spurt by ORU to take a 70-67 lead, one that they would not relinquish. The Golden Eagles would continue to pull away, leading by as many as nine (83-74) after a 3-pointer by Niles and a pair of free throws.
A beautiful up-and-under layup by Pearson gave ORU an 88-81 lead with just over a minute to go and the Golden Eagles were able to finish the game at the free throw line.
ORU will remain at home as they host South Dakota on Thursday night before hosting the Hall of Fame game against UMKC on Saturday night. Both games will tip off at 7:05 p.m. from the Mabee Center.