Niles leads ORU to win
BY Staff Reports
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
11/20/12 at 4:50 AM
STOCKTON, Calif. - Warren Niles continued a blazing start to his senior season, scoring 26 points and teaming with Steven Roundtree and Damen Bell-Holter in leading Oral Roberts to a 69-67 victory over Pacific in a Monday night game.
Roundtree scored a season-high 19 points and Bell-Holter produced 11 points, 11 rebounds and a critical 3-pointer - his first of the season - as ORU improved to 2-1.
"Your veteran guys, when you play on the road - especially early in the season - have got to step up and help you win games like this and certainly they did tonight," ORU coach Scott Sutton said.
Pacific (1-2) rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to take leads of 60-57 and 63-62 late in the game. Bell-Holter, a 6-foot-9 senior forward who had made only 21-of-74 career 3-point attempts, provided a big momentum play when he cashed a 3-pointer to give ORU a 65-63 edge with 2:40 remaining.
"We needed it," Sutton said of Bell-Holter's 3-pointer.
Pacific guard Lorenzo McCloud answered with a basket to tie the score at 65, but, after an ORU turnover, Niles scored on each of the Golden Eagles' next two possessions to clinch the victory.
Niles scored 48 points in ORU's first two games, hitting 18-of-27 shots and 11-of-16 from 3-point range. He provided more of the same in ORU's first road victory in two tries this season.
Roundtree and Bell-Holter combined for only 24 points in ORU's first two games, but Niles, Roundtree and Damen Bell-Holter combined for 30 of the Golden Eagles' first 32 points in this game.
ORU led by as many as eight points in the first half and settled for a 37-34 halftime cushion. The Golden Eagles scored the first eight points of the second half to lead 45-34 with 16:28 remaining. Giving away big leads was a problem for Sutton's team last season and that was the case once again Monday night.
But the Golden Eagles survived and Sutton said he was "really proud of how they responded."
"I thought they overcame some adversity," he said. "I thought they grew up a little bit tonight to fight back and win a tough, tough basketball game."
ORU made the long trek west in order to repay a trip Pacific made to the Mabee Center for an ESPN BracketBusters game during the 2010-2011 season. The Golden Eagles won that game by 16 points.
Pacific went 11-19 last season (it was only the Tigers' fourth losing season since 1992) and placed sixth in the Big West with a 6-10 record. The Tigers returned all five starters (and 11 lettermen) this season.
"It's a huge confidence-booster to be able to go on the road and win," said Sutton.
ORU up next
Great Alaska Shootout
Vs. Loyola Marymount
8 p.m. Thursday