The Oral Roberts men's basketball team climbed out of a nine-point hole and tied the game with five minutes to play but Missouri State hit its final four shots and nine free throws and topped the Golden Eagles 70-67 on Friday night at the Mabee Center.
ORU (5-5) got a career high 16 points on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting night from Brandon Conley but fell despite shooting 61 percent (14-23) in the second half. Shawn Glover led ORU with 19 points, including a 3-for-4 mark from 3-point range, and Korey Billbury chipped in 10 points.
Conley and Bobby Word tied for team-high honors with six rebounds apiece and ORU out-rebounded the Bears 33-31.
MSU (8-1) got 20 points from Marcus Marshall, 12 from Christian Kirk and 15 from Jarmar Gulley, who proved a big part of the late run for the Bears. Missouri State held advantages in points in the paint (34-26), second chance points (8-4) and bench points (39-13).
Despite falling at home for the first time this season, ORU shot the ball better from the field (46 percent – 43 percent), including a 47-percent to 33-percent advantage from 3-point range. The Bears held the edge at the free throw line, hitting 16-of-18 attempts.
"That was a tough loss," coach Scott Sutton said. "We struggled all night on the offensive end and we had to play catch up most of the game. We finally got caught up and we had a couple of terrible possessions. I thought during that time that we were playing catch up we played really well and that allowed us to get back in the game. I give a lot of credit to Missouri State, they have a nice team."
A pair of early 3-pointers, including one by Denell Henderson on his first attempt of the year, put ORU up 13-9 midway through the first half. After that point, though, it was a 10-3 run, including a pair of 3-pointers, that made it a 10-3 run and the Bears took a 21-18 advantage, grabbing their first lead of the game.
D.J. Jackson hit a step-back jumper and Billbury drained one from long range to put ORU back up 23-21 with less than three minutes to go in the half.
All tied at 24 with the clock winding down, Marshall hit a layup in the final seconds of the half to send the teams to the locker room with the Bears holding a 26-24 advantage.
A hot start extended an MSU spurt into a 12-3 advantage to open up a 33-26 lead out of the break. ORU climbed back into it and cut it to a 3-point game on a number of occasions but couldn't close the gap.
Down four after a pair of Glover free throws, the Golden Eagles gave up five straight to the Bears, including a 3-point play by Gulley making it 44-35, the largest lead of the game for the Bears.
ORU responded with another 6-0 run to cut it back to three with 11:26 to play after a pair of Jabbar Singleton free throws.
On the back of Billbury, ORU finally got over the hump and tied the game at 52-52 with just shy of five minutes to play, but over the next 3:11, the Bears put together another rally, with Gulley scoring seven of the Bears' 12 points in a 12-4 run. The run forced ORU to foul in the final minute of the game.
As they did all game, the Bears continued to be solid from the free throw line and knocked down their final nine attempts from the free throw line to take the 70-67 victory.
ORU hits the road again for a matchup with Akron as the return game from the BracketBusters series. That contest will tip from James A. Rhodes Arena at 7 p.m. on Monday.