Oral Roberts had opportunities at the end of regulation and overtime, but couldn't hit shots when it mattered most and the Golden Eagles fell to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 74-72 on Saturday afternoon at the American Bank Center.
ORU (13-13, 7-6) got 23 points from Shawn Glover, 21 from Korey Billbury and a career high 17 points, along with nine rebounds and career best four blocks from Brandon Conley. ORU shot 47 percent from the field, compared to 53 percent from Corpus Christi, but the Golden Eagles held advantages in rebounds (31-27), second chance points (18-4) and points in the paint (32-28).
Corpus Christi (13-14, 10-4) got 22 points from John Jordan, with 20 coming in the second half and overtime. Zane Knowles added 12 points and 11 rebounds to pace the Islanders, who improved their shooting by nearly 50 percent (33.3 percent to 81.3 percent) in the second half.
"I think they certainly made a lot of big shots late in regulation and overtime, but we did a lot of things poorly there in the last 10 minutes of the game," said Coach Scott Sutton. "In these type of games you can go back and point to a lot of different things that would have changed the outcome. It is a tough loss because you put yourself in a position to win the game and didn't finish it."
Billbury's efforts kept ORU in front for much of the beginning of the game, and by as many as 3 at 18-15 before Rashawn Thomas went on a run, scoring six straight points to put Corpus Christi back up 21-18. Billbury again stopped the streak with a layup to bring the Golden Eagles back within one with just under eight minutes to play.
The Golden Eagles finished the half strong, putting together an 11-2 run to close the half, capped off by a straight away 3-pointer by Glover to give ORU a six point lead, 31-25 at the break. It was the largest lead in the half by either team.
To start the second, ORU's lead hovered between six and two, until a 3-pointer by Bobby Word and a pair of Billbury free throws made it 45-38, giving ORU its largest lead of the game. The Islanders immediately went to work and scored the next five points to cut it back to a 45-43 game with just under 12 minutes to play.
With 6:42 to play, a Knowles layup cut it to one, 53-52, but Knowles missed the free throw opportunity that would have tied the game. On the next possession, the Islanders finally wrangled the lead away from the Golden Eagles and a jumper from Brandon Pye made it 54-53.
Billbury got a pair of free throws out of the final media timeout that tied the game at 57-57 before Jordan and Glover traded baseline jumpers to keep the game knotted up.
Glover put ORU up two, 63-61 with the shot clock off and 34.8 seconds on the clock, and Jordan answered with just over seven seconds to play to once again tie the game, 63-63.
The ball was knocked away under the ORU basket, but ORU had another chance, maintaining possession with 3.3 seconds to play.
Jabbar Singleton got a great look at a 3-pointer to win it but it rimmed out and sent ORU to its second overtime game of the season.
Still tied with 1:31 to play in overtime, Pye hit his second 3-pointer of the game to give Corpus Christi a 3-point lead, and Knowles scored on the next possession to make it a five-point game with less than a minute to play.
ORU cut it to a two point game, 74-72, and got the steal on the inbounds to get the ball back with 9.0 to play.
Like with regulation, ORU got a great look at the rim, but Glover's shot hit everything but the bottom of the net but wouldn't drop.
ORU will have nearly a week off as the Golden Eagles travel to Central Arkansas next Saturday, February 22, at 4 p.m.