Oral Roberts erased an 11-point second-half deficit and hit shots down the stretch to beat Bowling Green 63-56 in the Mayan Division championship game at the 2013 Cancun Challenge on Wednesday at the Hard Rock Riviera Maya.
ORU improved to 4-3 on the season while Bowling Green dropped to 2-4.
After the completion of the game, Shawn Glover was named the Tournament MVP and Korey Billbury was named to the Mayan Division All-Tournament Team. Joining the ORU duo was Cameron Black and Anthony Henderson from Bowling Green, Jordan Downing from Presbyterian and Jelani Hewitt from Georgia Southern.
Glover averaged 25.5 points and five rebounds per game for the two games in Cancun, while Billbury added 19 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, leading ORU to the first mid-season tournament championship on record since 1996 when ORU went 2-0 in the KYLT/Coca-Cola Classic in Missoula, Mont.
On Wednesday, Glover led all scorers with 27 points, hitting 9-of-10 from the free throw line, including all four attempts in the final 15 seconds after BGSU had cut it to a three point game. Glover also led the team with six rebounds. Billbury added 17 points and five rebounds, including three offensive boards, while Adrion Webber hit a pair of 3-pointers and finished with 10 points.
Henderson and Spencer Parker each had 12 points to pace the Falcons, while Black had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
"Winning this game was important for a number of reasons. It gets us another quality non-conference win, it ends this trip with a lot of momentum, but also, selfishly for all of us, we are going to be able to enjoy this next day and a half better with this win," coach Scott Sutton said. "I've had very few teams, at least since our last NCAA Tournament team, who would have found a way to win this game. We played about as bad of an 8-minute stretch as I've seen in the first half, and then came back in the second half and out-score them by 16 points. I'm really proud of this team."
Things looked to be going the way of the Golden Eagles as Webber's second 3-pointer of the half made it 24-14 with 8:11 to play, capping an early 9-2 ORU run.
The Falcons answered right back and ORU had just one field goal in the final 8:11 of the half, and went without a point in the final 4:40, succumbing to a 21-2 BGSU scoring run.
The scoring advantage took the game from a 10-point ORU lead to a nine point BGSU advantage, 35-26 at the break.
ORU was able to get within six on multiple occasions to start the second half, but through the first 10 minutes was not able to get any closer.
As the clock ticked past the 10-minute mark though, Billbury took over, draining a 3-pointer and then laying the ball in on a fast break after a Glover steal, cutting it to a one-point deficit, 49-48 with 9:08 to go. The baskets made it nine-straight ORU points for Billbury.
The Golden Eagles kept coming and finally took the lead 52-50 with less than five minutes to play on Glover's free throw line jumper. It was the first ORU lead since the 2:45 mark of the first half.
With the game's outcome still hanging in the balance, D.J. Jackson stepped up with the shot clock winding down and hit a 3-pointer to make it a 5-point game (57-52) with less than a minute to play. Webber hit a pair of free throws to further aid the Golden Eagle's cause.
A six-point game with less than 30-seconds to play, Henderson hit a 3-pointer for the Falcons to make it a 59-56 ORU lead.
ORU got the ball into Glover's hands, and the senior hit four free throws and grabbed a rebound on a desperation 3-pointer to give ORU the championship.
ORU will return home for just the second time this year as they host Cameron on Tuesday, December 3 at 7 p.m. inside the Mabee Center.