ORU Loses Tight Contest To Stephen F. Austin

Thursday, January 23rd 2014, 11:52 pm
By: News On 6

After digging out of an early hole, the Oral Roberts men's basketball team led by as many as seven and it wasn't until the final minute of the game that league-leading Stephen F. Austin was able to get back in front. The Lumberjacks (17-2, 6-0) won their 14th straight game, beating ORU (10-9, 4-2) 72-69, Thursday night at the Mabee Center.

With his second double-double of the year, Shawn Glover led all players with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Korey Billbury added 17 points for the Golden Eagles, as the duo combined to shoot 57 percent (15-26) from the field. As a team, the Golden Eagles shot 48.9 percent from the field but hit just 33 percent (4-12) from the 3-point line.

SFA got 59 of their 72 points from four players, led by Jacob Parker's 19. Desmond Haymon added 15, Deshaunt Walker chipped in 13 off the bench and Nikola Gajic posted 12 points. The Lumberjacks hit eight triples and shot 44 percent (24-54) from the field.

ORU out-rebounded the ‘Jacks 29-28, but turned the ball over 14 times, which turned into a 23-13 advantage for SFA in points off turnovers.

"That's a tough loss but give a lot of credit to Stephen F. Austin," said Coach Scott Sutton. "They have a great team, but they have a belief that someone is going to step up and make a play. Our guys just didn't finish the game. We made costly mistakes down the stretch and you can't do that against a good basketball team."

SFA jumped out to a 25-11 lead to start the game, shooting 75 percent from the floor, including a 3-3 mark from 3-point range. With a banked in 3-pointer, everything seemed in favor of the Lumberjacks.

ORU had other thoughts, and mounted a 12-0 run behind Jorden Kaufman and Billbury. The duo accounted for the first seven of the run before Glover hit a three and D.J. Jackson got a fast-break layup, forcing SFA to call a timeout.

The stoppage halted momentum momentarily, with SFA scoring the next four before ORU took its first lead of the game and extended it to 33-29, with another 10-0 run. The second big run was highlighted by a Brandon Conley dunk with 3:26 to go in the half.

Despite five SFA points, all from Parker, ORU continued to pull away and a Jabbar Singleton hit a 3-pointer to close the half, giving ORU a 41-34 lead at the break. In all, ORU out-scored SFA 30-9 over the final 10:16 of the half.

Out of the locker room, Parker led SFA on a 10-3 run to tie the game up at 46-46 less than five minutes into the half, with Bobby Word hitting the lone three for the Golden Eagles.

Tied at 51-51, Glover took over and scored the game's next six points to give ORU a 57-51 lead with just over 11 minutes to play.

ORU could not pull away and SFA scored the next five points, including a 3-pointer by Gajic, to make it a one-point game.

The Golden Eagles got back in front by as many as five on a couple of occasions, but each time SFA had an answer, tying the game at 65-65 with 4:27 to play after a 7-2 SFA spurt.

Up one with less than a minute to play, ORU turned the ball over and SFA converted it into two points on a put-back by Gajic, giving the Lumberjacks a 68-67 lead, their first since it was 29-27 with 5:29 to play in the first half.

Forced to foul, ORU benefited from SFA misses at the free throw line, but couldn't capitalize on the offensive end and fell 72-69.

The Golden Eagles will remain at home on Saturday as they host Northwestern State at 3:30 p.m. Hall of Fame selections Andretti Bain (track & field), Steve Holm (baseball) and Ori Zuzic (volleyball) will be inducted at halftime of the game.