Niles wearing a target for ORU
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Saturday, December 01, 2012
12/01/12 at 6:49 AM
Oral Roberts senior guard Warren Niles is a marked man. He has only himself to blame.
Four games into this season, Niles was averaging 26.8 points on you've-got-to-be-kidding shooting - 66.7 percent from the field and 69.2 percent from 3-point range.
"He was on a tear," coach Scott Sutton said. "And then, sooner or later, teams are going to try to just take him out of the game."
Sooner or later arrived during the Great Alaska Shootout. In ORU's final two games at the tournament (both losses), Charlotte and Belmont made it a priority to shadow Niles.
"Charlotte had some good athletes and had some size, and we didn't do a good job (of adjusting)," Sutton said. "That's where his teammates and our staff, we have got to do a better job of getting him clean looks at the basket. And then against Belmont, they did a similar-type thing."
Niles still came home from Alaska with a 20.8 scoring average and the nation's fourth-best 3-point percentage.
And Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger acknowledged Niles was a marked man after "holding" him to 19 points in a 63-62 Sooner victory over the Golden Eagles on Wednesday night at the Mabee Center.
"Anytime someone's averaging 20 points-plus and off to the start that he is, people give him extra attention," Kruger said. "You wouldn't have known that by the way we tried to guard him in the first half, but we tried to give him extra attention. He's a good player."
Niles will be prominent on Missouri State's scouting report when ORU makes a Saturday trip to Springfield, Mo.
Thanks mostly to Niles (who has made 22 of his team's 38 3-point baskets this season), the Golden Eagles rank 18th nationally in 3-point percentage. Missouri State ranks 26th nationally in 3-point percentage defense.
What can Niles do to help himself now that he has a reputation?
"It doesn't change much about me or the way I play," he said Friday. "But it will help my teammates. When they concentrate on me and help defensively, my teammates will get more open shots."
The Missouri State game will be a what-could-have-been contest for ORU senior Damen Bell-Holter. He originally signed with the Bears because of a relationship with assistant coach Kyan Brown. Both are in the Golden Eagles' camp now.
Missouri State has two players from Oklahoma, including starting forward Drew Wilson of East Central.
A redshirt freshman who averages 4.7 points and 6.0 rebounds, Wilson became the first freshman in program history to record a double-double in his debut when he collected 12 points and 11 rebounds in a season opener against Philander Smith.
Original Print Headline: Niles has target for ORU
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389