ORU hopes lineup changes bolsters bench play
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
12/05/12 at 5:52 AM
Can Oral Roberts reach its goals this season with minimal production from reserves?
In seven games against NCAA Division I opponents, ORU's bench has been outscored by 96 points. The Golden Eagles' bench has been shut out three times.
Coach Scott Sutton hopes a lineup change will result in more production from non-starters.
In a lopsided victory Saturday at Missouri State, redshirt freshman point guard D.J. Jackson started in place of Korey Billbury, who had started every previous game.
Jackson will remain in the starting lineup when ORU makes a Wednesday trip to Texas State.
Here's one reason for the change: Billbury, who wasn't projected to be a point guard, was perhaps pressing too much while trying to learn an unfamiliar position. Meanwhile, Jackson put up efficient floor general numbers (22 assists, only four turnovers) through the first eight games.
Here's another reason for the change: "Korey is an energy guy and you kind of always like to have an energy guy coming off the bench like we had with Tree (Steven Roundree) last year," coach Scott Sutton said, referring to a current starter who last season was the Summit League's top sixth man. "I think Korey will develop into that role where he will give us a spark from the bench."
Sutton, citing things he saw during a 72-52 win over Missouri State, also expressed confidence that other non-starters in the rotation will blossom as they gain experience.
Sutton expects freshman center Jorden Kaufman to play in every game.
Sutton said Brandon Conley continues to get better and indicated the freshman forward is athletic enough to be a good match-up with Southland Conference players who are in his size range.
Freshman forward Corbin Byford, transitioning from small-school high school ball to major college basketball, suffered a setback when he missed a chunk of preseason camp with an ankle injury. A 12-day game-less stretch after the trip to Texas State should provide him with an opportunity to make up ground.
Junior guard Mikey Manghum, though not a big scorer, is a valuable bench player according to Sutton.
"He is a guy that is going to be solid and defend and take care of the ball," the coach said. "But he has certainly hit big shots for us and is one of our better shooters."
ORU at Texas State
7 p.m. Wednesday
Strahan Coliseum San Marcos, Texas
Radio: KYAL fm97.1
Golden Eagles (4-4)
*-assists per game
Original Print Headline: ORU hopes switch boosts bench
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389
ORU's D.J. Jackson started in place of Korey Billbury during Saturday's road win at Missouri State. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World