ORU notebook: History lesson
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
3/06/12 at 3:23 AM
ORU was playing in the semifinals for the 12th time in its 15 Summit League seasons, failing to make the championship game for the seventh time overall and sixth time in the past eight years.
In its final Summit League season, ORU is the first No. 1 seed not to reach the tourney championship game since 1993.
Western Illinois was making its first semifinal appearance since 1999 and reached the championship game for the first time since 1997. The Leathernecks' only tournament title came in 1984.
Dominant DoMo: ORU's Dominique Morrison gave the crowd more of a flavor of why he was the Summit League's Player of the Year than he did in scoring 10 points in Saturday's first-round win over IPFW.
He hit a succession of contested jump shots and driving layups, going 9-for-12 from the field.
He scored 15 first-half points, helping the Eagles erase an early 12-5 deficit.
WIU head coach Jim Molinari had his players start double-teaming Morrison, and held him to one shot over the final 7:55.
"Morrison is a tough matchup because he is agile and tall. He jumps over us and goes around us. We started to double him, running at him, doubling ball screens, and trying to make someone else beat us. So, that is one of the adjustments that made the difference down the stretch," Molinari said.
Morrison moved into fifth place in ORU career scoring with Saturday's performance, passing Mark Acres' 2,038 points in 1981-85.
With Monday's 23 points, Morrison boosted his career total to 2,067.
Postseason hopes: ORU head coach Scott Sutton had this to say on the Eagles' chances of gaining an NCAA at-large bid.
"That's going to be up to the committee. This team's won 27 games, 20 of the last 22 games. Do I think we're an NCAA Tournament team? Yes. But we'll just have to wait until Sunday. This one hurt tonight. I really thought if we had won tonight and gotten to (Tuesday's) final, that there'd be a lot of people pushing for us."
Okie influence: Edmond Memorial's Obi Emegano scored eight points for the Leathernecks. He had a poor shooting night overall (2-for-9), but went 4-for-4 from the line, hitting two clutch foul shots with 1:22 left.
He had a game-high 19 in Sunday's 58-53 first-round win over North Dakota State.
"In my opinion, he's one of the best freshmen in college basketball," WIU senior guard Ceola Clark said. "He's a veteran, even though he is a freshman, and it showed through the season. He's been a leader for our team, as far as stepping up and making foul shots in the clutch. He's playing very well, and I hope he can keep building on it and just go from here."