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ORU Falls To A&M-Corpus Christi

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The Oral Roberts men's basketball team fell behind early and was unable to climb out of the hole, falling to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 71-64 on Saturday night at the Mabee Center.

Corpus Christi (5-10, 2-0) out-rebounded ORU (7-8, 1-1) 38-33, and held a 32-20 advantage in the paint.

ORU got 21 points from Shawn Glover and 18 points from Korey Billbury, but the pair got out-dueled by the inside game of the Islanders that produced a pair of double-doubles.

Rashawn Thomas scored 15 points and had 12 rebounds, while Zane Knowles added 14 points and 10 rebounds to pace Corpus Christi. It was the first time since facing Nevada in 2012 in which ORU has given up double-digit rebounds to two opposing players.

ORU shot 42 percent (23-54) from the field, while TAMUCC hit 48 percent (25-52) of their shots. Despite not shooting well from the free throw line (16-28, 57 percent), the Islanders hit enough down the stretch to hold off a Golden Eagle charge, with 12 of their final 16 points coming from the charity stripe.

"That's a tough loss but I give Corpus Christi a lot of credit," said Coach Scott Sutton. "Their kids out played us, they out toughed us and they were the better team tonight. The only way this team can really be good and compete for a championship is to play with a chip on our shoulder and play with great energy and toughness, and we didn't do that tonight."

Down two early, ORU put together a 7-2 run to jump in front, with all seven coming from either Brandon Conley or Bobby Word. The duo combined to put ORU up 16-13, but the Islanders answered right back with a 9-0 run of their own to grab the largest lead (6) for either team in the first half at 22-16.

For the remainder of the half, ORU was unable to get any closer than three points, and a Dale Francis 3-pointer with just over a minute to go gave the Islanders a 37-31 lead at halftime.

ORU didn't get the hot start it needed to start the second half either as the Islanders opened up the frame on a 10-3 run to open up a 47-34 advantage.

A 7-2 ORU run got the Golden Eagles back within striking distance after Billbury converted a 3-point play to make it 49-41 with just less than 15 minutes to play.

ORU would extend the run into a 13-4 advantage and cut it to a four point game, getting baskets by Billbury, Glover and Conley.

The Golden Eagles failed to convert on a couple of opportunities, allowing the Islanders to go back on a 7-2 run with all seven points coming from the free throw line as they got the lead back out to eight, 63-55, with less than six minutes to go.

ORU could get no closer than six the rest of the way.

ORU will take nearly a week off before facing Central Arkansas at the Mabee Center on Saturday at 6 p.m. to finish off the conference-opening three-game homestand.

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