Billbury, ORU cruise to victory
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
11/06/12 at 6:22 AM
The Oral Roberts University basketball team will open the regular season Friday night at Texas-El Paso. The Miners intend to wear retro uniforms in honor of "80s Night."
Fittingly, as a prelude to 80s Night, the Golden Eagles staged - for at least a half - their version of "That '70s Show" (starring Korey Billbury) in a 92-69 exhibition victory Monday night over Oklahoma Wesleyan at the Mabee Center.
Remember the 70s?
That's when ORU averaged 93 or more points in five consecutive seasons and twice led the nation in scoring with averages of 100-plus points.
The Golden Eagles went old-school and scored 52 points in the first 17 minutes against Bartlesville-based Oklahoma Wesleyan.
Billbury, who started his second consecutive exhibition game at point guard, was a points guard. The redshirt freshman from Booker T. Washington made 7-of-10 field goals and scored a game-high 19 points in 23 minutes.
Billbury began preseason camp as ORU's fourth option at point guard, but moved to the head of the pack after other candidates suffered eligibility or injury setbacks.
"Korey Billbury, you look back and it may be a blessing in disguise, some of these things that have happened, because we probably wouldn't have put him at point guard," coach Scott Sutton said.
"He is great in transition. He is still learning and has a ways to go, especially in making some good decisions. But he makes (teammates) run. They know if they will run with him, he is going to get them a good shot or easy shots. That's what happened in the first half."
ORU shot 61.1 percent in the first half and led 56-25.
If Billbury's emergence was the highlight of the exhibition finale, then a poor second half was the lowlight.
"I challenged them at halftime," Sutton said, recalling what he said to his squad.
"You are up 31 points. You are playing a team and they shouldn't be as good as us. They are NAIA Division II. Let's go out there and really try to play like we were playing UTEP. Let's be sound defensively. Let's do the things that are going to give us a chance to win Friday night in El Paso."
And how did that go? "We were awful," Sutton said. "Embarrassing."
The Golden Eagles were outscored, outshot and outrebounded (by a team with no player taller than 6-foot-6) in the second half. Sutton said his team "didn't defend at all" after halftime. He hopes the second half will be an attention-getter.
"Oklahoma Wesleyan, hats off to them," Steven Roundtree said. "They did good. They exposed what we couldn't handle, which was (playing) defense, so we are going to get back in the lab and work on it."
Roundtree, who scored 13 points, and Billbury were among five Golden Eagles in double figures. Warren Niles scored 13 points, Shawn Glover added 11 and Brandon Conley contributed 10.
Damen Bell-Holter, who grabbed 15 rebounds last Thursday, added 10 more rebounds.
Oral Roberts 92, Oklahoma Wesleyan 69
Oklahoma Wesleyan: Bowie 12, Steven 11, Harries 10, Rogers 10, Jahn 9, Lannan 7, Woods 6, Knight 3, Ogletree 1.
Oral Roberts: Billbury 19, Niles 13, Roundtree 13, Glover 11, Conley 10, Jackson 9, Bell-Holter 8, Manghum 5, Purnell 2, Tannehill 2.
8 p.m. Friday
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Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389
Oral Roberts' Warren Niles tries to get around Oklahoma Wesleyan's Tyler Woods during Monday's game at the Mabee Center. Niles had 13 points in the exhibition finale for the Golden Eagles. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World