ORU rallies to win on last-second shot
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Monday, December 12, 2011
12/12/11 at 10:10 PM
LITTLE ROCK – Needing a miracle, the Oral Roberts basketball team got a 60-foot shot from Damen Bell-Holter as time expired to beat Arkansas-Little Rock 58-55 in nonconference men’s basketball Monday night.
It was the second miracle for ORU in the closing seconds. The Eagles trailed 55-53 and all UALR had to do was inbound the ball with 3.2 seconds left.
But ORU’s Warren Niles tipped the inbounds pass and UALR’s Chuck Guy shoved him trying to get to the loose ball.
Guy's foul sent Niles to the foul line. The junior guard has been struggling to regain his shooting touch and had taken only three shots in the game and scored only two points.
This time, Niles made both foul shots, tying the game. Then, UALR tried a court-length inbounds pass that Bell-Holter intercepted behind a leaping Michael Craion and a UALR player near the Trojans’ foul line.
Bell-Holter hesitated, then fired a baseball pass to the other end from just inside the opponent’s 3-point line. The ball left his hand just before time ran out, slammed off the glass at the other and swished through the net.
Officials consulted the monitor before ruling that Bell-Holter had gotten his shot away before time expired.
“I was holding onto it and (Dominique Morrison) said “Shoot it,” and so I let it go,” Bell-Holter said.
ORU rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit behind senior guard Rod Pearson, who scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half and tied a career high in scoring.
“We probably didn’t deserve it. We played just awful in the first half, and missed free throws down the stretch,” ORU coach Scott Sutton said.
“But (Morrison) said in the locker room that the basketball gods owed us one for our last-second loss against UT-San Antonio in the second game of the year,” Sutton said.
On Nov . 15, ORU lost to UTSA 78-77 on a 3-pointer as time expired in the first round of the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater.
With Monday’s win, ORU improved to 7-3. The Golden Eagles play at Gonzaga on Thursday night and Xavier on Sunday afternoon before returning home to host Texas Tech on Dec. 22.
ORU’s last-second heroics spoiled a career night for UALR senior guard D’Andre Williams. He scored a career-high 22 points.
His 17-foot jumper from just to the right of the foul line had given UALR a 54-53 lead with 29.8 seconds left. After an ORU turnover, Tramar Sutherland made the first of two foul shots and the Trojans had a 55-53 lead.
Morrison missed from the left side, and Guy emerged in a scramble for the loose ball. Craion reached in and appeared to tie up Guy, but the whistle blew and officials ruled Guy had a called a timeout.
That gave possession to the Trojans on the ORU end with 3.2 seconds left, but when play resumed, Niles gave ORU the first of two miracles.