SFA Defense Too Much for ORU in 61-50 Loss
TULSA, Okla.-Stephen F. Austin was able to shut down Oral Roberts' offense and handed ORU (8-8, 3-1 Southland) its first loss in conference play, 61-50 on Saturday night at the Mabee Center. SFA moves to 14-1 (5-0, Southland) with the victory.
The 50 points scored by the Golden Eagles against the nation's top defense marked the fewest points scored by ORU at home since having just 49 against Western Illinois on Feb. 12, 2009.
As SFA tried to shut down Damen Bell-Holter inside, things opened up a little for the freshman guards as D.J. Jackson (13) and Korey Billbury (10) led ORU offensively as the only two players in double figures. Bell-Holter had eight, and managed to get to double figure rebounds for the fourth time in five games with 10.
Antonio Bostic led a trio of double digit scorers for SFA with 16, while Desmond Haymon had 15 and Hal Bateman added 10.
"Obviously I'm disappointed, but we got beat by a very good basketball team," said Coach Scott Sutton. "They are a team that is playing with a tremendous amount of confidence. They are very well coached and have tough kids. Bottom line is, we didn't match their toughness tonight."
The top two rebounding teams in the Southland Conference, SFA edged out ORU on the boards, 34-32, although ORU was able to take advantage with a 13-8 advantage in second chance points. Thanks to Billbury's 10 points, ORU's bench out-scored its opponents (16-4) for just the fifth time this season, but the first time since Dec. 5 against Texas State.
ORU shot 37.5 percent from the field and shot just 33 percent from 3-point range, but hit just one of nine attempts from beyond the arc in the first half. SFA shot 46 percent for the game, but made 24 trips to the free throw line, while ORU went just five times, easily the fewest trips to the line under Sutton.
"To get to the free throw line you have to get the ball inside," said Sutton. "We did a poor job of getting the ball inside and then when we did get it inside, instead of taking it to the rim and being aggressive, they kind of shied away from contact and when you do that you aren't going to get the calls."
A 4-of-6 start from 3-point range gave the Lumberjacks and early advantage, and the visitors used a 7-0 run to take a 12-4 lead. It would bump up to a 12-point lead before ORU used an 8-0 run of its own to get within four at 23-19.
SFA bounced right back and scored four unanswered with more than 3:30 to go in the half, and Bell-Holter had the only other points of the half, coming at the 1:54 mark of the half to make it a 27-21 game, which would be the halftime deficit for the Golden Eagles.
The Lumberjacks didn't let up in the second half, out-scoring ORU 8-3 to start the half, and the Golden Eagles continued to struggle to get the ball in the basket, shooting just 30 percent (5-16) over the first 12 minutes of the half.
The rally never did come in the second half, and ORU fell at home for the third time this season, snapping a 17-game home conference winning streak.
It is back to the road for ORU as they travel down to Corpus Christi, Texas on Thursday to face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in a 7:30 p.m. matchup at the American Bank Center.