From ORU Sports Information
TUCSON, Ariz.-Arizona proved up to its No. 4 ranking as the Wildcats shot 57 percent from the field and topped Oral Roberts 89-64 on Tuesday night at the McKale Center. The Wildcats (9-0) scored 10 of the first 12 points of the game and the first 11 points of the second half to put away ORU (5-5) as the Golden Eagles suffered just their second road loss of the season.
Warren Niles led the way with 22 points, hitting his final four 3-point attempts in the game. Shawn Glover tied his career high with 18 points and was the most efficient offensive threat for ORU hitting eight of his 12 shot attempts.
ORU turned the ball over 20 times on Tuesday, the most since the season opener, leading to 27 Arizona points off turnovers. The Wildcats also held a 37-27 advantage on the glass and dominated the paint with a 42-18 point advantage around the basket as they shot 57.6 percent (34-59) for the game, hitting eight 3-pointers.
“We needed them to come out a little flat and they didn’t,” said Coach Scott Sutton. “I’m awfully impressed with them. I knew offensively they were really good but I thought defensively they did a great job and really smothered Niles the first half and didn’t give him any good looks.”
Arizona picked up right where it left off in its top-10 victory over Florida, hitting four of their first five 3-point attempts to open a 21-12 lead just over eight minutes into the game. It was Glover who kept ORU in the game, scoring eight of the first 12 points for the Golden Eagles.
The 3-point barrage was not over as Arizona went on to hit six of their first nine 3-pointers and opened up a 45-31 at halftime after shooting 63 percent (17-27) from the field for the half. The Wildcats led by as many as 17 in the half.
Any hopes of an ORU comeback were quickly put to rest as Arizona scored the first 11 points of the second half to swell the lead to 56-31 before a Roundtree drive scored the first Golden Eagle points of the half more than 3:30 in.
The Wildcats would hit five of their first six shots in the second half and the lead would hover around 25 points for the next six minutes before a 7-0 spurt by ORU cut it to a 67-49 Arizona lead. The two teams would trade mini runs from that point, with Arizona scoring the next five, followed by four-straight by Glover for ORU.
As Niles heated up from 3-point range, the deficit continued to drop and ORU climbed back to within 16 (80-64) with less than three minutes to play, and Niles had a good look in the paint to cut in even further but it rimmed out and Arizona avoided any further threat.
ORU will return home for just the third time this season as they face Tulsa on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the PSO Mayor’s Cup game at the Mabee Center. Fans are encouraged to bring canned food items to donate and those who do will be entered to win tickets, ORU Athletics gear and KJRH prizes.
Blake Freeland is the Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations at Oral Roberts University.