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Oral Roberts Upsets No. 13 New Mexico

Oral Roberts' Dominique Morrison (AP Photo) Oral Roberts' Dominique Morrison (AP Photo)

Originally Published: Dec 23, 2009 9:37 PM CDT

Associated Press

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Michael Craion had 18 points and 13 rebounds, Dominique Morrison scored 17 points and Oral Roberts handed No. 13 New Mexico its first loss of the season, 75-66 on Wednesday night.

Oral Roberts (7-6), already with wins over Missouri and Stanford this season, took an early 13-point lead but then had to make another charge after the Lobos (12-1) rallied to take the lead in the second half.

Warren Niles hit a jumper from the right side to give the Golden Eagles a 59-58 lead with 6:32 to play and ignited a 10-0 run. Kevin Ford pushed the lead to nine with a two-handed jam off a touch pass from Craion.

Phillip McDonald and Dairese Gary had 13 points each for New Mexico, which had off nights from leading scorers Darington Hobson and Roman Martinez.

Hobson scored 11 points on 5-of-14 shooting and Martinez had four points while making only 1 of 9 shots. Both had been averaging just under 17 points.

The Lobos came in trying to win their first 13 games in a season for only the second time in school history, but ran into an Oral Roberts team with a penchant for pulling upsets. The Golden Eagles were hosting a Top 25 team for the first time since 1996 and were playing at the Mabee Center for the first time since a memorial for the school's namesake and founder was held at the arena two days earlier.

Oral Roberts, who died last week at age 91, was honored in the invocation and players wore black, circular patches with his initials on their jerseys.

New Mexico ended up becoming the highest-ranked opponent to lose at Oral Roberts, although the Golden Eagles won at No. 3 Kansas three years earlier.

Oral Roberts took advantage of a brief absence by Hobson to build on its lead down the stretch. While a trainer attended to a cut on Hobson's left arm, Ken Holdman nailed a 3-pointer and Ford hit a hook shot from the right block to make it 64-58. But even after Hobson returned, the Lobos couldn't make the charge they needed.

New Mexico, which had been one of only two teams in the nation averaging less than 10 turnovers, had 13 against Oral Roberts.

Holdman finished with 13 points and Niles had 10.

Kyron Stokes and Morrison hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to give Oral Roberts the lead from the start, and the Golden Eagles led 14-4 after Hobson's third turnover in the first 8 minutes led to Holdman's fast-break layup. ORU stretched its lead to 13 as the Lobos started out 3 of 13 from the field.

Gary converted a three-point play to spark a string of seven straight points to get the Lobos within 27-24 with 2:42 left in the half, but Oral Roberts responded right away with an 11-0 surge featuring two 3-pointers by Holdman and another by Niles.

Hobson's 3-pointer just before halftime brought New Mexico within 38-27.

After being held scoreless until that 3-pointer, Hobson had six points during a 17-5 run that gave New Mexico its first lead. He had a two-handed jam after Martinez stole the ball and dived out of bounds to tip it ahead to Hobson, whose layup with 12:20 to play put the Lobos up 46-45.

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