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Strong First Half Powers Oral Roberts Past Southern Utah

Kevin Ford elevates for a dunk. Kevin Ford elevates for a dunk.

Originally Published: Dec 5, 2009 10:5 PM CDT

Associated Press

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Michael Craion scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half to help Oral Roberts withstand a late rally in a 68-53 victory over Southern Utah on Saturday night.

Kevin Ford added 12 points for the Golden Eagles (5-4, 2-0 Summit League), who defeated the Thunderbirds (3-6, 0-2) for the 15th straight time dating back to 2003.

Ryan Brimley, who didn't score in the first 28 minutes, paced Southern Utah with 19 points. Brimley was 7 of 12 from the field, including 4 of 7 on 3-pointers. Matt Massey added 12 points for the Thunderbirds, who have lost four straight.

Craion, who entered the game averaging 11.5 points, set his season-high in points for the second consecutive game and had nine rebounds. He made 8-of-13 shots from the field and 6-of-7 free throws.

Oral Roberts' biggest lead was 45-24, but Brimley scored 14 points in six minutes to help Southern Utah cut its deficit to 51-45 with 5:01 left. Craion responded with a basket on the Golden Eagles' next possession to ignite an 11-3 run that was punctuated by his dunk for a 62-48 lead with 47 seconds remaining.

Oral Roberts made 24-of-31 free throws while Southern Utah sank 7 of 12. The Golden Eagles outrebounded the Thunderbirds 46-32.

The Golden Eagles scored the first eight points of the game and were never caught. Ford had seven points in the first half to help Oral Roberts take a 30-14 lead into intermission.

Southern Utah's Davis Baker, who came in averaging a team-high 18.3 points, was held to eight points and did not score in the first half.

Dominique Morrison had 10 points and three assists for Oral Roberts.

The game was scoreless for the first 3:15. Two baskets by Ford ignited an 8-0 run. The Golden Eagles' lead grew to 23-4 with nine minutes left in the first half.

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