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ORU Closes Regular Season at Southern Utah

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 02/24/2012
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TULSA, Okla. - Oral Roberts University completes their 2011-12 regular season schedule on Saturday, Feb. 25 when they face the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah University. Tip-off between the departing Summit League rivals is scheduled for 6 pm CT at SUU’s Centrum Arena.

Radio coverage of Saturday’s game starts at 5:45 pm CT on ORUGoldenEagles.com and KYAL-AM 1550. A live video broadcast is available at SUUTBirds.com.

Oral Roberts (19-9, 13-4 Summit League) is coming off of their most impressive performance of the 2012 calendar year, a 77-51 triumph over Oakland University on Monday, Feb. 20. Kevi Luper led the Golden Eagles with 27 points and eight rebounds, while Bernadett Balla chipped in 16 points and Georgia Jones hit four three-pointers and scored 14 points.

ORU can clinch their third straight 20-win season with a victory on Thursday. The Golden Eagle program has not posted three consecutive 20-win campaigns since the 1979-80 season.

Jerry Finkbeiner’s club is also still alive in the race for the Summit League regular season crown. The Golden Eagles have clinched the second seed in next week’s Summit League Tournament and could win the top seed with a victory on Saturday and two South Dakota State this week.

The Jackrabbits host Western Illinois and IUPUI in the final rotation of the regular season.

Luper has topped 20 points in each of her last four games. The junior is averaging 26.0 points and shooting 47.0% over that stretch.

On Feb. 18 against IPFW, Luper became ORU’s career leader in points and steals. Already the Summit League’s career scoring leader, she needs eight steals to match Youngstown State’s Colleen Cook, the League’s all-time steals leader.

The closing stretch of Balla’s freshman season has seen the Hungarian play her best basketball. Balla is averaging 12.0 points per game over her last six appearances after netting 5.0 points per game in her first 22 games.

ORU enters Saturday’s game on a four-game winning streak. Finkbeiner’s club has not achieved a five-game streak since the opening five games of the season, which wrapped up on Nov. 22 with a win over Houston.

Southern Utah (6-22, 2-15 Summit League) occupies the basement of the Summit League standings and will not qualify for next week’s Summit League Tournament. SUU has lost three straight games, including a 70-60 loss to IPFW on Feb. 20.

The Golden Eagles routed the Thunderbirds on Dec. 3 in Tulsa, 109-59. Luper scored 31 points in the win.

ORU is now 14-11 all-time against Southern Utah. This is likely the last meeting between the schools, with ORU departing for the Southland Conference next season and the Thunderbirds off to the Big Sky Conference.

Oral Roberts embarks on their final Summit League Tournament next week in Sioux Falls, S.D. Quarterfinal action is set for Saturday, March 3 with the Championship Game set for Tuesday, March 6.

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