After jumping out to an early lead, the Oral Roberts men's basketball team was still within striking distance with 12 minutes to play but a 9-0 run by No. 9/11 Baylor ended any upset hope and the Bears downed ORU 81-55 on Monday night at the Ferrell Center.
ORU (6-7) was led by Shawn Glover's 22 points, while Denell Henderson nearly doubled his previous career high (9) with 16 points and eight rebounds. Henderson did it on a 6-of-9 shooting effort, although ORU shot just 36 percent (21-58) as a team, and hit just one of 13 3-point attempts (7.7 percent).
Although Baylor's size proved a factor with five blocks and a 42-34 scoring advantage in the paint, ORU held its own on the boards, matching Baylor with 36 rebounds.
Baylor (11-1) was led by Cory Jefferson's 17 points on a 7-of-8 shooting night, while Isaiah Austin added 15 points. Rico Gathers had a double-double for Baylor, the first given up since 2012 when the Golden Eagles took on Nevada. The Bears shot 51 percent (30-58) for the game, including a 61 percent (19-31) clip in the second half.
"Baylor is a very good team and I thought they played well tonight and our guys didn't," said Coach Scott Sutton. "It's a tough matchup for us, they are so long and athletic it is hard for us to get clean looks at the basket. We hung around for a while but I didn't think our guys competed on the defensive end like we should have and that is disappointing."
ORU got a great start, jumping out to a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the contest. The defense continued to be solid early and, thanks in part to a pair of missed free throws by Baylor, held the Bears without a point for nearly six minutes in the game.
Kenny Cherry broke the 7-0 run with a 3-pointer at the 14:07 mark of the first half. Gathers added a pair of free throws and Brady Heslip hit his first of three 3-pointers to make it an 8-0 run for the Bears.
As the half went on, ORU suffered its own scoring drought, going nearly four minutes without a point. Finally a loose ball led to a Glover dunk to end the drought.
Glover continued to seemingly score at will and after not having one of the first seven ORU points, scored the next 12 straight for the Golden Eagles.
Another Cherry 3-pointer gave the Bears their largest lead of the first half at 14, 31-17, capping a 31-10 scoring advantage for Baylor after ORU jumped out to the early lead.
ORU matched the Bears over the final 2:51 of the half, and Henderson's layup with less than 30 seconds to play cut it to a 36-25 game at halftime.
The teams traded baskets for the majority of the second half, and it was 48-36 Bears with 13 minutes to go in the game.
Baylor finally got the separation it wanted with a 9-0 run, including a 3-pointer by Jefferson, to make it 59-38 with 10 minutes to play.
The lead would eventually swell to 29 and the Bears cruised to the 81-55 victory.