Lucky breaks keep coming for ORU
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Saturday, February 11, 2012
2/11/12 at 4:45 AM
"Better lucky than good" described the Oral Roberts basketball team Thursday night. It has more than once this season.
Try as they might, the Summit League-leading Golden Eagles couldn't put away seventh-place IUPUI - not until fortune smiled.
The Eagles needed Rod Pearson's contested, double-clutching shot from 14 feet as time expired in overtime to beat the Jaguars 76-74.
ORU coach Scott Sutton understands such moments can make or break a season.
"To win a bunch of games, especially at this level, there's always an element of luck, and we've certainly been fortunate," Sutton said. "So maybe it's our year."
The Eagles (22-5) are enjoying a banner season as Western Illinois visits the Mabee Center on Saturday night for homecoming. They'll try to clinch a share of their first Summit League regular-season title in four years.
Fortune has smiled on the Eagles frequently. They needed Damen Bell-Holter's buzzer-beating, beyond-halfcourt shot to win at Arkansas-Little Rock 58-55 on Dec. 12.
At home to Southern Utah in the conference opener on Dec. 3, the Eagles rallied from an eight-point deficit over the final 4:28 to win 61-55.
Saturday's foe provides another reminder. ORU struggled to win at WIU in double overtime last month, needing one of the luckiest moments of the year.
With the score tied in the final seconds of regulation and ORU's Dominique Morrison trying to free himself for a shot, the Leathernecks' Ceola Clark raked the ball out of Morrison's hands and raced to the other end.
Clark had a winning layup in his sights, but the 6-foot-2 Pearson ran him down from behind and somehow forced Clark to alter his shot without fouling. Clark missed off the glass.
"(Clark) has a breakaway and probably makes the play 70 percent of the time, or gets fouled, but Rod makes a heckuva play," Sutton said. "We were fortunate to win that game."
WIU is coming off back-to-back losses, but the Leathernecks are still in the hunt to finish as high as third in the league. And, Sutton said, "still plenty dangerous."
Clark, a 6-foot-3 senior, led an upset of ORU in Tulsa two years ago and was a 2009-10 all-league first-team selection before missing most of last season with a foot injury.
Edmond Memorial freshman Obi Emegano and juco transfer Terell Parks are two of the Summit League's top newcomers. Emegano leads the Leathernecks in scoring (14.3) while Parks leads the league in rebounding (8.8) and is second in blocked shots (1.4).
ORU up next
Vs. Western Illinois • 7:05 p.m. Saturday
TV: KGEB-23/53 (10 p.m. tape-delayed)
Radio: KYAL fm97.1
Original Print Headline: Lucky breaks keep on coming for Golden Eagles
Mike Brown 918-581-8390
ORU head coach Scott Sutton and the Golden Eagles will try to clinch a share of the Summit League title Saturday against Western Illinois. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World