A 20-0 second half run, including five consecutive triples from freshman Bobby Word, broke the game open and led the Oral Roberts men's basketball team past Houston Baptist 88-55 on Thursday night at the Mabee Center.
It was a career night for Word, who scored more in the 2:34 stretch than any of his previous 13 games, and finished with a career-best 20 points to lead all scorers. Shawn Glover added 16 points in just 26 minutes of action, while Korey Billbury had 15 points. Brandon Conley led all players with 11 rebounds as ORU out-rebounded HBU 47-34.
ORU (7-7, 1-0 SLC) won its conference opener for the fifth year in a row, while HBU dropped to 3-10 (0-1 SLC) in its Southland Conference debut.
For HBU, Cody Joyce and Tyler Russell each scored 10 points to lead the offense.
After missing on their first five 3-point attempts, the Golden Eagles hit nine of the next 15, including an 8-14 (57 percent) mark in the second half. In addition to the rebounding edge, ORU also turned 16 HBU turnovers into 22 points, while the eight ORU turnovers provided just six points for the Huskies.
"The game is a lot more fun to watch and easier to coach when you make shots, and in the second half, we made shots," said Coach Scott Sutton. "This was a big win for us, coming off a very challenging non-conference schedule. We played like a team that didn't have any confidence the first half. I think this will give us a tremendous amount of confidence going forward in our league."
After ORU scored the game's opening basket, HBU went on a 6-0 run to take an early lead. Jabbar Singleton ended the Huskies' spurt with a jumper and a 3-point play by Billbury brought ORU back in front, 7-6.
The Golden Eagles trailed the majority of the first half and found themselves down four (23-19) with four minutes to play. Sparked by a nice reverse layup by Drew Wilson, ORU scored the next seven points to take the lead, and out-scored the Huskies 14-5 over the final 3:51 of the half to take a 33-28 lead at halftime.
The first half run was capped by an Adrion Webber 3-pointer, the only one of the half for ORU after starting 0-5 from behind the arc.
ORU scored the first eight points of the second half, making it an 11-0 run in all after Webber's trey to end the first half. The stretch helped the Golden Eagles open up a 41-28 lead.
Tyler Russell finally ended the run with a layup, scoring the first HBU points of the second half nearly four minutes in.
With the two teams trading points and looking for a spark, Word stepped up and provided it for ORU, single handedly out-scoring HBU 17-2 midway through the second half, draining five 3-pointers in a row to give ORU a 62-40 lead, its largest of the game at the time.
"Obviously Bobby was unbelievable," said Sutton. "For a freshman to be able to score 20 points in 17 minutes is impressive. We know he's a good shooter but he's been inconsistent, and a lot of that has to do with him being a freshman. He made his first couple and you could just see his confidence rise. His teammates did a great job of getting him some clean looks and he knocked them down."
After Word's show, Billbury stepped up and continued the ORU run, scoring the next five for ORU making it a 20-0 run and a 70-40 lead.
The lead would eventually swell to as many as 35 with less than a minute to play.
ORU remains at home on Saturday, January 4, as the Golden Eagles host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 6 p.m.