Rod Pearson's late heroics save ORU against IUPUI
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Friday, February 10, 2012
2/10/12 at 4:43 AM
It was one of those games Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton has been talking about, and it almost bit the Golden Eagles in the rear.
The Eagles couldn't put the game away after building an 11-point lead in the second half, and needed Rod Pearson's double-pump, running shot as time expired in overtime Thursday night to escape with a 76-74 Summit League win over IUPUI.
Pearson drove the right side with time running out, went up with two Jaguars waving their arms in his face, and had to swing the ball low before putting it up again.
The ball hit inside the rim on the left side, bounced up against the backboard and fell through the basket.
"I was confident going to the goal because that's my strength," said the 6-foot-2 Pearson, who made a game-winning shot at Stanford two years ago. "I just wanted to get the ball on the rim and hopefully if I missed it, somebody could get a tip-in."
Officials consulted the monitor to determine whether the ball had left Pearson's hand before the buzzer sounded. When they signaled the shot good, the Eagles had their 21st consecutive home win over two seasons.
ORU improved to 22-5 overall and 14-1 in league play. The Eagles stretched its league lead to 2 1/2 games over second-place South Dakota State, which lost at cross-state rival South Dakota 72-68.
The Eagles can clinch a share of the regular-season Summit title when Western Illinois visits Saturday night.
With NBA scouts watching, IUPUI senior Alex Young poured in 34 points, going 6-for-9 from 3-point range. He and the seventh-place Jaguars seemed much better than the team ORU beat 81-71 in Indianapolis last month.
Young scored 23 second-half points and sparked the Jaguars back after ORU started the second half on an 18-2 run to build a 46-35 lead.
Sutton thought his team relaxed at that point, and Young took over. He scored eight of his team's next 14 points as the Jags' slashed ORU's lead to 51-49 with 7:39 left.
"We've done it all year, allowed teams to get off the canvas and make a comeback," Sutton said. "It hasn't cost us yet, which the exception of the (UT-San Antonio) in the second game of the year, but I just hope it doesn't cost us at the wrong time month."
He means at the conference tournament, March 3-6 in Sioux Falls, S.D. Most agree the Eagles probably have to win the title to reach the NCAA Tournament.
ORU never allowed IUPUI to take the lead, but the Jags tied it at 65 on Young's four-point play with 23 seconds, hitting a 3-pointer while drawing a foul from Dominique Morrison, and hitting his foul shot.
Morrison, ORU's leading scorer with 23 seconds, missed from the right baseline to end regulation and the game went to overtime.
ORU couldn't hold a six-point lead in overtime and led by one with 30 seconds left when Pearson's pass intended for Morrison was knocked away by IUPUI's Sean Esposito.
Morrison fouled out when he grabbed Chiles as he was headed to the basket. Chiles made his first shot to tie the game, but missed the second shot. ORU's Damen Bell-Holter rebounded and the Eagles played for what turned out to be Pearson's winning shot.
Vs. Western Illinois
7:05 p.m. Saturday
TV: KGEB-23/53 (TD 10 p.m.)
Radio: KYAL fm97.1 am1550
Original Print Headline: Pearson's late heroics save Eagles in overtime
Mike Brown 918-581-8390
ORU's Steven Roundtree goes up for a shot against IUPUI during Thursday night's game at the Mabee Center. Roundtree had 11 points in ORU's 76-74 overtime win. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World