ANCHORAGE, Alaska-It went down to the wire with both teams holding big leads late in the game, but it was Belmont who ended up on top, taking a 70-67 victory over Oral Roberts. The Bruins (5-1) claimed third place in the Great Alaska Shootout, while ORU (3-3) finished fifth.
ORU got a double-double performance from Steven Roundtree, who led the team in scoring (13) and rebounding (career-high 16) and got a career night from Korey Billbury who set new personal highs with 12 points and seven rebounds. Ten of Billbury's 12 points came on a 10-of-11 effort from the free throw line. Damen Bell-Holter, who looked to easily have a double-double after five early rebounds, found himself in foul trouble and finished with 12 points but six rebounds. ORU also got career highs from Jorden Kaufman (8 points, three rebounds) in the loss.
It was a pair of 20-point efforts by Blake Jenkins (22 points) and Kerron Johnson (20 points) that led the Bruins as the duo combined to shoot 15-of-18 from the floor, leading Belmont to a 57.8-percent clip (26-45) for the game.
ORU found it tough to find the basket for the second game in a row as they shot just 37 (20-54) percent from the field and 30 percent (4-13) from behind the arc. A 42-23 rebounding advantage kept ORU in the contest to the end.
Belmont benefited from a 58 percent (14-24) shooting effort in the first half, and also used a tip-in at the buzzer to take a 37-32 lead into the break. After battling within two and three points for the majority of the half, the Bruins took a 33-27 lead at the 3:11 mark before a Korey Billbury free throws and a Mikey Manghum 3-pointer cut it back to one at 33-32.
With Bell-Holter in foul trouble for the second-straight game, Kaufman played extended minutes, and sparked an ORU rally midway through the second half. Four-straight points by the back-up center brought ORU from two down to in front at 47-45.
After a Craig Bradshaw 3-pointer gave the 48-47 lead back to the Bruins, ORU scored the next nine to grab a 56-48 lead. Billbury grabbed a defensive rebound and led the fast-break, feeding Niles for an and-one opportunity, his first points of the game.
Belmont came right back and scored the next eight points to tie the game at 56-56 after a Trevor Noak 3-pointer as the shot clock ran down.
The Bruins would go back out in front by seven at 67-60 with less than two minutes to go. ORU quickly cut it to a one-possession game, but couldn't get the tying basket as time ran out.
ORU returns to action on November 28 as they host the Oklahoma Sooners inside the Mabee Center for a 7 p.m. tip off. That match up will be shown on ESPN3.