Second-half rally lifts OU past ORU
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Thursday, November 29, 2012
11/29/12 at 3:33 AM
Related story: Oral Roberts unable to hold off Oklahoma.
Oklahoma was better than Oral Roberts only when it mattered Wednesday night, and that was enough to steal a 63-62 victory at a raucous Mabee Center.
"It was a good basketball game, and one we feel fortunate to win," OU coach Lon Kruger said. "Coach (Scott) Sutton's team played much better than we did throughout the 40 minutes."
Unfortunately for ORU, the game came down to OU's rally over the last nine minutes, plus the decisive sequence with 7.8 seconds left.
That's when Steven Roundtree threw an inbound pass from near his basket to Shawn Glover on the baseline. Je'lon Hornbeak was right there defensively, forcing Glover to take a tough, but makeable, shot. It rimmed off.
Romero Osby rebounded and was fouled with 1.4 seconds remaining. Osby missed both free throws, but the only shot ORU could manage was Glover's 50-foot heave. It missed and the horn sounded.
The Sooners, with their second true road win in as many tries, were 5-1. ORU was a hard-luck 3-4.
"A tough loss," Sutton said. "It never gets easy losing those types of games."
The Golden Eagles played tougher, more efficient basketball for the majority of the night. Roundtree and Warren Niles were the two best players on the floor. They appeared poised to do what they thought they could in Norman last year - give their program their first win over OU since 1977.
"We should have closed it out," Niles said after finishing with a game-high 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting. "We had the game under control for 35 minutes and let it slip away."
In fairness, the Sooners took it back some. Down 54-44 after Glover's basket with 9:05 to play, OU figured out it would need to fight to prevail.
Cameron Clark went strong to the basket and made two free throws to start the comeback. Osby stuck in the missed shot of teammate Amath M'Baye, and OU was within 54-48.
"You can't get outrebounded in the second half (it was 25-15) and have some of the careless turnovers we did and expect to win," Sutton said.
OU guard Buddy Hield turned one of those turnovers, a midcourt steal, into a breakaway dunk to cut it to 54-50. Then, after Niles' loose ball bucket, M'Baye attacked Glover and scored to make it 56-52 with 6:38 left.
The Sooners kept working. Hield soared for an offensive board and fed M'Baye for a layup, then hit a runner in transition for a 56-56 tie.
Roundtree (14 points, eight rebounds) scored to retake the lead, but then Steven Pledger hit his only 3 of the night off a curl.
OU led 59-58 with 3:40 remaining, its first advantage since 4-2.
Glover (17 points) scored, then Osby put the Sooners back in front with two free throws after working the offensive glass. From there, OU got after Niles.
The Golden Eagles marksman charged over Osby then missed a pair of 3s. Pledger hit a running one-handed shot to make it 63-60, before the two teams traded turnovers.
ORU got it back and Roundtree made an and-one over M'Baye with 18 seconds left. He missed the free throw, but Glover rebounded in the middle of the lane and M'Baye knocked the ball out of bounds.
The Golden Eagles called time to set up the inbound play, resulting in Glover's miss.
"Shawn is a good player. We want him to take that shot," Roundtree said. "We weren't in the right position to rebound and go back up with it."
"This team has a great ability to show up in the clutch," said M'Baye, whose 12 points and nine rebounds both led the Sooners. "Everyone stepped up. It was a tough one. They've got a great team.
"I'll take the W any day of the week."
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: OU 63, ORU 62
OU UP NEXT: Vs. Northwestern State, 7 p.m. Friday | ORU UP NEXT: At Missouri State, 4:30 p.m. Saturday
Original Print Headline: Sooners steal one
Guerin Emig 918-581-8355
Oral Roberts' Shawn Glover walks down the court in the final seconds of Wednesday's loss to Oklahoma as Isaiah Cousins (left) and Romero Osby trail. OU defeated ORU 63-62. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World