Golden Eagles Miss Out on NCAA Tourney Bid

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:15 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Mar 8, 2011 10:38 PM CDT

Grant Belcher
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – For a minute, the NCAA tournament almost seemed within reach for the Golden Eagles.

ORU mounted a furious comeback against Oakland on Tuesday, but simply ran out of gas when it mattered most in a 90-76 loss in the Summit League Championship game.

The loss ended ORU’s inspiring 10-game winning streak, and more importantly, its NCAA tournament hopes.

Oakland received the Summit League’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with the win.

Oral Roberts found itself in a big hole early, trailing by as many as 16 in the first half.

But the Golden Eagles went off at the end of the half and into the second, rallying all the way back to take the lead at 57-56 with 13 minutes remaining.

But it seemed the Golden Eagles’ run left them completely exhausted as Oakland proceeded to outscore them 22-5 over the next five minutes.

From there, Oakland cruised, leading by as many as 24 with two minutes to play.

ORU forward Dominique Morrison, a bright spot for the Golden Eagles all season, showed that same tenacity and grit down the stretch of the loss. He scored eight of Oral Roberts’ final 10 points and seemed determined to prolong the inevitable.

Morrison had 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Golden Eagles.

Damen Bell-Holter, Warren Niles, Steven Roundtree and Ken Holdman all scored in double digits to help ORU out.

Two Golden Grizzlies players took up the majority of Oakland’s scoring load, as Keith Benson put up 28 points and 14 boards and guard Reggie Hamilton added 26.

ORU turned the ball over twice as many times as the Golden Grizzlies (14 to 7) and also allowed Oakland to shoot 52 percent from the floor.

Oral Roberts finished out the season at 19-15 overall after starting the year 9-14. The Golden Eagles finished the regular season with a 13-5 conference mark.