TULSA, Okla.-Defense led to offense for Oral Roberts on Monday night as the Golden Eagles blew past Oklahoma Wesleyan 92-69 in the final exhibition of the season. ORU turned eight steals into 14 points off turnovers in the first half alone, opening up a 56-25 advantage at the break, posting a perfect 2-0 record in exhibition contests.
The Golden Eagles will take the court for the first time in the regular season on Friday, November 9 as they travel to El Paso, Texas, to face UTEP in an 8 p.m. tip from the Don Haskins Center.
Local product Korey Billbury filled up the stat sheet, hitting 7-of-10 shots-2-of-2 from 3-point range-to score a game-high 19 points. Billbury also had four assists and three steals, all in just 23 minutes of action. Five Golden Eagles scored in double-figures in the highest point total (92) since dropping 97 against South Dakota on January 7 of last season. Warren Niles and Steven Roundtree each had 13 points, while Shawn Glover added 11 points and Brandon Conley dropped in 10. For the second time in as many games this season, Damen Bell-Holter led the way on the glass with double-digit rebounds, grabbing 10 boards in the victory.
The Golden Eagles shot a sizzling 61 percent (22-of-36) in the first half and ended the game just under 50 percent (35-of-71), earning 16 steals on 19 OKWU turnovers. As expected against an undersized OKWU roster, nearly half of the Golden Eagles' points came in the paint, outscoring Oklahoma Wesleyan 42-28 under the basket.
"First half we did a lot of good things," said Coach Scott Sutton. "We got stops and rebounded really well in the first half and that allowed us to get out in transition and this team is really good in transition. Korey Billbury is great in transition. He still has a ways to go, but he makes those guys run and they know if they will run with him that he will get them easy shots."
Oklahoma Wesleyan also had a balanced attack, with Zach Bowie (12 points) leading the way. Steven Cooks (11 points), Devin Harries (10 points) and Zac Rogers (10 points) also scored in double figures for the Eagles, who shot 35 percent (25-of-70) from the floor for the game.
Similar to the first exhibition, it took a few minutes for the ORU offense to start clicking but defense led to easy baskets as the Golden Eagles used a big run (14-0) in the middle of the half to make it a 35-16 lead. After a layup by Oklahoma Wesleyan, ORU continued to roll, and in all it was a 28-4 scoring advantage over the course of 6:43 in the first half to make it a 50-20 lead at the time. ORU ended the half with four-straight to make it a 56-25 advantage.
The second half was more of the same as the Golden Eagles stretched it to a 14-3 run, including 10 points from Billbury, to make it 66-29 five minutes into the second half.
Midway through the half with a 38-point lead (75-37), ORU let off the gas and OKWU was able to trim into the lead, using a 12-3 run to make it 84-60 with less than four minute to go in the game.
The lead was never in danger though, and Sutton took advantage of the chance to empty his bench allowing all 10 players who dressed out to see significant minutes in the game. With late baskets by Caleb Tannehill and P.J. Purnell, all 10 scored at least two points in the victory.