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ORU Hosts Houston Baptist to Open Southland Slate

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 12/31/2013
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TULSA, Okla. - Oral Roberts University opens their 2014 Southland Conference schedule on Thursday, January 2, when new league member Houston Baptist comes to the Mabee Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 pm CT, with radio coverage available on KYAL-AM 1550 and ORUGoldenEagles.com.

In addition, ELIve subscribers can watch Thursday’s game on ORUGoldenEagles.com. Single-game packages are available.

Oral Roberts (1-9) fell in their non-conference finale, 89-53, on Sunday at No. 18/15 Nebraska. ORU surrendered the first 24 points of the game but played better in the second half, outscoring the Huskers by a 28-27 margin in their final tune-up for conference play.

Two ORU perimeter threats had career days against Nebraska. Christian Key scored a career-best 25 points, with 23 coming after the halftime break, while Kaylan Mayberry scored 20 points, a personal high. The freshman carried ORU through a rough first half, scoring 17 points in the first period.

The 25-point effort boosted Key’s scoring average to 13.3 points per game, tops on the club and 13th in the Southland Conference. Mayberry comes into the game averaging 9.6 points per game, 2nd on the ORU roster.

Senior Sarah Shelton continues to rank high on the Southland leaderboards. The Ft. Worth, Texas native averages 8.5 rebounds per game, 6th in the league, and 1.8 blocks, good for 2nd. Shelton has led ORU in rebounding in every game this season.

ORU has lost nine consecutive games and seen its RPI plummet to 210, although the struggles have come against a brutal non-conference schedule. The Golden Eagles have played the 9th-toughest schedule in America according to RealTimeRPI.com, with eight games coming against top-150 opponents and four games against teams with sub-100 RPIs.

Houston Baptist is 4-7 on the season after finishing their non-conference slate with a 99-48 victory over Huston-Tillotson University on December 28. Shanice Steenholdt led the Huskies with 36 points in the win, and she leads HBU with 17.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

HBU enters the game with an RPI of 314 and has played the 331st toughest schedule in the country through December 31. The Huskies have lost four straight games against NCAA Division I opponents.

ORU is 2-0 all-time against Houston Baptist, including a 107-67 victory in the team’s last meeting, on November 28, 2009. All-time scoring leader Kevi Luper led the Golden Eagles with 28 points and nine steals in the victory.

A victory on Thursday would give the Golden Eagles a five-game winning streak in conference openers. ORU hasn’t dropped their first league game since 2008-09, when they fell on the road to South Dakota State, 76-62. A win would also be ORU's 11th in their last 12 conference home games, a run that dates back to 2011-12.

ORU completes the opening weekend of Southland play on Saturday, January 4, when they host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Tipoff is set for 3 pm CT at the Mabee Center.
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