Warren Niles scores 29 as ORU wins home opener
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Thursday, November 15, 2012
11/15/12 at 5:41 AM
Oral Roberts University's home opener turned into the Warren Niles show.
The senior guard erupted for 29 points in only 24 minutes of court time and turned in a near-perfect shooting performance in a 90-41 victory Wednesday night over NAIA opponent St. Gregory's.
"Warren was terrific," ORU coach Scott Sutton said.
Niles started the game 2-of-3 from the field and didn't miss again. He made his final nine shots to finish 11-of-12 from the field and 7-of-8 from 3-point range.
One more shot and one more make would have allowed Niles to tie a Mabee Center record for field goal percentage. Jeff Acres went 12-of-13 against Oklahoma Baptist in 1984 and Blake Moses went 12-of-13 against Stephen F. Austin in 1996.
But Niles, who matched a career-high for single-game 3-pointers, made the last of his bombs with 12:29 left to give ORU a 67-29 lead, and he watched the rest of the game from the bench.
ORU improved to 1-1 following a 69-49 loss at UTEP in the season opener. In the aftermath, Sutton prescribed demanding practices because he wanted the Golden Eagles to get tougher. He also emphasized to players that they had to be unselfish on offense. They shared the ball well enough to produce 21 assists against St. Gregory's.
But, during the course of the game, Sutton told at least one player he wanted a little less sharing.
Said Niles, "Coach told me when I was open ... don't think about being selfish. Just shoot it. So that's what I did."
Sutton guessed Niles took perhaps one bad shot.
"I thought Warren turned down four or five shots in the first half that he easily should have shot," the coach said. "Certainly I was telling him shoot the ball. We've been stressing sharing the ball and taking good shots and not being selfish. I think that was kind of in the back of his mind. He is a terrific shooter when he gets open."
ORU's bench was blanked at UTEP, but reserve guard D.J. Jackson scored 11 points to help the Golden Eagles outscore the Cavaliers 39-15 in bench points. Freshman forward Corbin Byford gave ORU its first bench points of the year when he hit consecutive shots at the 12:39 and 12:00 marks of the first half.
"Our young guys, this was an important game for them to go out there and get some experience," Sutton said.
St. Gregory's dropped to 1-2. The Cavaliers were led by senior guard Fayzon Richey, who scored 21 points. Richey was an honorable mention NAIA All-American last season.
ORU led St. Gregory's by only a point with 9:29 remaining before halftime, but the Golden Eagles outscored the Cavaliers 28-5 the rest of the half and cruised to an easy win.
If the margin of victory had been one point larger, it would have matched the ninth-most lopsided triumph in ORU history.
9 p.m. Monday
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Original Print Headline: Niles shines in home opener
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389
Oral Roberts' Warren Niles moves downcourt as St. Gregory's Cody Crase chases during Wednesday's game. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World