The Oral Roberts University men's basketball team jumped out to an early lead and battled with defending Big 12 champion Kansas State to the end, but fell, 71-63, Wednesday night at Bramlage Coliseum.
ORU (1-1) couldn't overcome a poor shooting night, going 19-51 (37.3 percent) from the field and 1-10 (10 percent) from 3-point range in the loss. Kansas State (1-1) shot 23-46 (50 percent), including an outstanding 57 percent (12-21) clip in the second half.
The battle on the boards was virtually even with KSU holding a slight 32-30 edge, but ORU converted 10 offensive rebounds into 12 second chance points.
ORU was led by Obi Emegano's 24 points, including a 12-15 effort from the line, while Shawn Glover hit all nine of his free throw attempts en route to a 21-point, nine-rebound night. It is the first time since February 14 of last year against Sam Houston State in which ORU has had two 20-point scorers.
Kansas State got 25 points from Marcus Foster, who shot 9-12 from the field. D.J. Johnson added 12 points, with all eight of his second half points coming in the first five minutes. Will Spradling hit eight of his 12 free throw attempts to finish the game with 10 points.
"I'm disappointed," said coach Scott Sutton. "I knew we had to play well to win, but with the way we started we had a great opportunity. Give Kansas State credit and give Marcus Foster credit, he was terrific. But when you have a team down 16-4, especially a team whose confidence is a little bit shaken, you have to stay aggressive and I thought offensively we lost a little of our aggressiveness."
The ORU defense was stifling early, holding the Wildcats without a field goal for the first 7:49 of the game, running out to a 12-2 lead. On the other end, an 8-8 start from the free throw line, including six by Glover, helped ORU extend the lead to 16-4.
Kansas State mounted a 7-0 run that extended into a 14-1 advantage to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game at 18-17 with just over seven minutes to go in the first half.
The battle would be on for the remainder of the half and KSU would pull out their largest lead of the half (30-27) on a dunk as time expired.
A 7-2 run out of the break quickly made it an eight point Wildcat lead at 37-29 but ORU was able to close the gap, and a steal and dunk by Emegano made it a two point game, 39-37 capping an 8-2 ORU run.
Kansas State began to get separation midway through the second half, and got the lead to 11 at 54-43 nine minutes into the second half.
ORU was able to climb back into it and a pair of Glover free throws again put ORU within striking range as he cut it to 59-53 with six minutes to play.
With multiple possessions that resulted in good looks at the basket but no points for the Golden Eagles, they couldn't get any close before another Foster 3-pointer made it 62-53 with less than four minutes to play.
The first 3-pointer of the game for ORU came off the hands of Billbury, who drained one with 3:15 to play to cut the Wildcat lead to 62-57.
Five straight points from KSU kept ORU at arm's-length as the lead swelled to 67-57 with under two minutes to go.
As ORU ratcheted up the pressure, they got a steal that led to a basket, and ORU got it to a 68-63 game with 29.2 seconds to play.
Emegano had a chance to cut it to four but his up-and-under layup rimmed out and Kansas State was able to hold on for the victory.
ORU will return to Tulsa for its regular season home opener against Texas State on Saturday, November 16. The Golden Eagles and Bobcats will tip off at 3 p.m. from the Mabee Center.