ORU looking to rebound from TU
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Saturday, January 23, 2010
1/23/10 at 6:25 AM
The Oral Roberts basketball team hopes to regroup from Wednesday's emotional loss to Tulsa. Can the Golden Eagles do it on the road against a team with nothing to lose?
Centenary's Gents are ineligible for this year's Summit League tournament for academic reasons and are dropping to the Division III level in 2011.
ORU visits the Gents in Shreveport at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. ORU head coach Scott Sutton said it's the start of an important eight days.
"It's not an easy trip, and it's a totally different team (from Tulsa). They're gonna shoot a lot of 3's and they're very dangerous at home," Sutton said of the Gents. "We've gotta get our guys ready to play."
Centenary is only 7-12 overall, but 5-4 at home. The Gents crushed NAIA foe Southwestern Assemblies of God 108-65 Tuesday, hitting 13 treys.
Sophomore guard David Perez made four treys among his career-high 32 points and is second in the league with 48 in 19 games. As a team, the Gents are third in the league in 3-point shooting (.366).
Centenary is the smallest Division I school, with an enrollment of 910, but the Gents won't carry that distinction much longer. Hard economic times were at least part of the reason the school's Board of Trustees approved the move to Division III last summer.
Head coach Greg Gary lost his two best players when Chase Adams and Gary Redus decided to transfer, and the Gents returned only four athletes from last season.
"It's been hard because the guys who came here didn't come here expecting to play Division III basketball," he said. "But I'm proud of them for continuing to work hard and trying to do the best they can."
Sutton hopes the Eagles will use Saturday's game as a springboard to build momentum for the conference stretch run. ORU returns home to host North Dakota State (Thursday) and South Dakota State (Saturday), and likely will be favored in both games.
"Every conference game is important," said senior forward Kevin Ford, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds against Tulsa.
Mike Brown 581-8390
ORU guard Warren Niles puts up a shot over a TU defender Wednesday at the Mabee Center. Niles and the Golden Eagles travel to Centenary on Saturday. STEPHEN HOLMAN/Tulsa World