Late-Game Heroics Spark ORU over Tulane 92-86
Georgia Jones tossed in a season-best 22 points on 6-8 shooting from deep, including some clutch back-to-back three balls in the final minutes.
Kevi Luper added a team-high 29 points, seven boards and seven steals in the win.
The Golden Eagles fell behind by eight on three occasions in the first half, and entered the break trailing 45-49 following a sloppy opening stanza that featured 30 combined turnovers.
Tulane seemed to hold the momentum for the better part of the second half as well, but just couldn’t quite shake a Golden Eagle squad that had a knack for coming up with some big buckets that kept them within striking distance.
Trailing by six (75-81) with just over four minutes to play, Jones lit the fuse on the Golden Eagle comeback, calmly draining a pair of three’s that squelched a 9-2 Tulane scoring spree and brought ORU back to within a possession.
Not going down without a fight, the guest Green Wave used a layup and a 1-2 effort at the freebie stitch to build a four point lead with just 1:20 showing.
This time it was Jordan Pyle who brought the Golden Eagle fans to their feet, as the 6-1 forward wasted no time sinking a fall away jumper at the other end to bring the hosts to within just two points (84-86) with 1:10 to go.
ORU was back in business a short 14 seconds later, when a Tulane turnover gave the Golden Eagles the possession and a chance to take the lead with time winding down.
With just 48 ticks to go, went 1-2 at the charity stripe, but the real momentum swing came when Luper muscled in the offensive rebound and drew another Tulane foul on the put-back attempt.
The sure-shooting sophomore guard drained both free throws to put ORU in front 87-86 with 32 seconds to go. Luper then put the exclamation point on the evening at the defensive end, when she dove for a loose ball and forced a jump ball call with the possession arrow in ORU’s favor.
Luper sank four more free throws in the final 27 seconds as ORU held on for the win and advanced to the final 16 of WNIT action.
Pyle finished with 13 points and six rebounds, while playing the lion’s share of the second half with four fouls.
Dominique Allen added 10 points, nine boards and four steals in the ORU effort, with Savanna Buck chipping in nine points and a career-best six steals.
Tulane’s Danielle Nunn led all scorers with 37 points on 11-18 shooting.
With the win, ORU moves to 23-10 on the year. Tulane’s season ends with a 23-11 mark.
ORU now sets their sights on a rematch with the University of Arkansas. The Golden Eagles will host the Razorbacks in the final 16 of WNIT action this Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. in the Mabee Center.
Game Notes: With 802 points scored on the year, now stands at first place in Summit League single season history…In only her sophomore season, Luper has moved into 10th place all-time in Summit League career scoring with 1559 points.