TULSA, Okla.-Oral Roberts led by as many as 15 and held on for a 65-59 victory over Southeastern Louisiana in front of a homecoming crowd of 6,242 fans Saturday night at the Mabee Center.
Damen Bell-Holter led the way with his fourth 20/10 performance of the season, scoring a game high 23 and grabbing 10 rebounds for ORU (14-8, 9-1 Southland). It is the sixth double-double of the season for Bell-Holter. Warren Niles also added 20 points, hitting that mark for the 11th time this season. Although Shawn Glover's streak of 20 points games came to an end with six points, Glover chipped in with a career high five blocks and added a team high four assists.
The Lions (8-12, 6-4 Southland) were led by Dre Evans' 17 points while Brandon Fortenberry scored 16 in the loss.
"I was pleased we won but disappointed by how we finished the game," said Coach Scott Sutton. "We talked a lot about our defense on Thursday night and I thought our defense was better until about five or six minutes to go in the game. When you get a team down 15 points on your home floor you have to put them away, you can't allow them to get back in the game. We've done that over and over this year and it's frustrating. Fortunately our seniors stepped up."
As the score would indicate, the stats were fairly even with ORU shooting 40.7 percent (22-54) and SLU connecting on 38 percent (20-52) of its shots. ORU held a slight 36-35 rebounding edge, and turned it over 12 times compared to the Lion's 15 giveaways. SLU shot the three well though, hitting nine treys in the game, but ORU made up that advantage by getting to the line 25 times, hitting 18 of them to hold an eight-point advantage from the free throw line.
Unlike the first meeting when ORU shot 74 percent in the first half, both teams struggled to score points to start Saturday's game. ORU shot just 37 percent (10-27) to SLU's 33 percent (9-27). Four of the nine baskets for the Lions were 3-pointers though, keeping them in the game.
ORU jumped out to a 5-0 lead, and led for most of the first half, never trailing by more than two, but was never able to extend the lead either, only getting it as high as six after the lone 3-pointer of the half fell from Niles to make it 28-22 with 3:02 to play.
The second half started with a different story as the Golden Eagles scored the first nine points of the half, holding SLU scoreless for nearly four minutes to take a 38-25 lead.
Bell-Holter sparked the offensive play, scoring nine of the team's first 17 points in the second half to help the Golden Eagles extend the lead to 13, 46-33.
Just as the ORU lead got to 15, Southeastern put together an 11-0 run to make it a 51-47 game with just over five minutes to play. Niles had the answer for the run, scoring a four-point play to give ORU a little more cushion.
Bell-Holter used the bonus to aid the ORU cause as well, dunking it over the top of Antonnio Benton, scoring the two and drawing the foul to get the lead back out to 11 at 58-47.
It is back to the road for the Golden Eagles, who will face Northwestern State on Thursday and fellow SLC leader Stephen F. Austin on Saturday. Saturday's contest will be televised on Cox Sports Net in Houston.