From ORU Sports Information
By Blake Freeland, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
TULSA, Okla.- The Oral Roberts University men’s basketball team dominated the glass and withstood late foul trouble to take the PSO Mayor’s Cup back from Tulsa, leaving the Reynolds Center with a 74-68 victoryon Sunday night
The ORU (1-0) victory snaps a four-game Tulsa (0-1) winning streak in the series, and sets the Golden Eagles off to a 1-0 start for the first time since the 2007-08 season. The road victory to start the season was the first since beating Princeton 64-59 in overtime to begin the 1981-82 season.
Despite shooting less than 40 percent from the field (22-57, 38.6 percent), ORU helped itself out on the glass, holding 45-28 rebounding advantage, including 17 offensive rebounds that led to 16 second-chance points.
On the other side, Tulsa shot 50 percent (25-50) from the field, but hit just 17 of 36 attempts from the free throw line (47 percent), including missing their final seven attempts of the game.
“I thought Obi (Emegano), D.J. Jackson and Korey (Billbury) stepped up and showed some leadership and showed toughness when things didn’t look good,” said Coach Scott Sutton. “Our guys found a way to win and I’m awfully proud of them.”
Obi Emegano scored a team-high 19 points for ORU, with 13 of those coming at the free throw line on just 14 attempts. Shawn Glover struggled early and fouled out with five minutes to play, but scored 10-straight ORU points in the second half and finished with 16 for the game. Korey Billbury had 13 points and eight rebounds, including five offensive rebounds, and D.J. Jackson added 11 points, going 8-9 from the free throw line. Brandon Conley had a game-high nine rebounds and seven points as 66 of the team’s 74 points came from the starting five.
ORU had three players (Glover, Conley and Denell Henderson) foul out of the game, while Jorden Kaufman stayed eligible but picked up four fouls.
Rashad Smith led Tulsa with 19 points, while Shaquille Harrison had 18. James Woodard had a team-high seven rebounds.
With highlight-reel dunks from Conley, Drew Wilson and Obi Emegano, the Golden Eagles weathered the early storm from the Golden Hurricane and Smith, who had eight of TU’s first 16 points of the game. Midway through the first half, ORU grabbed a 17-16 lead.
A 6-0 run for ORU gave the Golden Eagles their largest lead of the game to that point at 25-18 with 6:10 to go in the first half.
Tulsa cut into the lead with more of Smith, who ended the half with 12 of the Golden Hurricane’s 27 points, but ORU maintained a 30-27 edge at halftime.
After Smith scored the second half’s first points, Jackson answered for ORU with the game’s first 3-pointer to make it a 33-29 game and Conley followed with a mid-range jumper to make it a 35-30 game just minutes into the second frame. Both teams finished with just one made 3-pointer for the game.
Five minutes into the second half, Tulsa tied the game at 35-35, but Jackson’s free throws kept ORU from relinquishing the lead and put the Golden Eagles back up 37-35.
Jackson’s free throws also kick-started an 8-0 ORU run that put the Golden Eagles up by their largest margin of the game, 43-35 with 11:23 to play.
After Tulsa took a one-point lead at 58-57, ORU tied it behind a Henderson free throw, and went on to mount a 7-0 run to take a 64-58 lead and the lead would not dip below four for the rest of the game.
While Tulsa struggled from the line late, ORU continued to sink them down the stretch and took the 74-68 victory.
ORU will be in action again on Wednesday, November 13, as the Golden Eagles travel to Manhattan, Kan., to face Kansas State at 7 p.m. That game will be televised on Fox Sports Kansas City.