No. 4 Arizona sends ORU to blowout loss
BY Staff Reports
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
12/19/12 at 4:33 AM
TUCSON, Ariz. - Fourth-ranked Arizona, which beat Oral Roberts 89-64 Tuesday night at the McKale Center, is off to a 9-0 start for the first time since the 1987-88 season.
"This was a great opportunity," said ORU coach Scott Sutton, whose program is usually responsible for at least one giant-killing feat per season.
"I understand we were going to have to play great to win and they were going to have to play 'down' a little bit. But to come out here and not compete as well as I thought we should is disappointing."
The subplot was this: Mark Lyons got revenge.
Remember when ORU beat eighth-ranked Xavier last season?
Xavier was shorthanded because three starters served suspensions for their role in a brawl with Cincinnati. Lyons was among the suspended starters and he watched as the Golden Eagles handed Xavier the most lopsided defeat in Cintas Center history.
Lyons was Xavier's second-leading scorer each of the last two seasons, but it was mutually agreed that he needed a change of scenery. Because Lyons graduated from Xavier, the fifth-year senior was able to transfer to Arizona and be eligible in time to settle a score with ORU, which faced the Wildcats for the first time.
Was Lyons motivated to square off against the Golden Eagles? He opened the game with a 3-pointer, scored 14 first-half points, drew a technical foul for talking smack after a dunk and finished with a team-best 17 points.
Five Arizona players scored in double figures. Freshman forward and McDonald's All-American Grant Jerrett came off the bench for 15 points during a game in which the Wildcats shot 57.6 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range.
Arizona was three days removed from a come-from-behind victory over Florida. Sutton hoped the Wildcats would come out flat in their first follow-up game.
Instead, the opposite occurred. Arizona established itself as the aggressor and ORU, playing for the first time since taking 13 days off for final exams, fell behind 10-2. At halftime, the score was 45-31.
"You still have a chance to get back in the game," Sutton said. "We talked about going out there and competing and battling and they open the second half with an 11-0 run and all of a sudden the game is over. You are down 25 points. All you can do is learn from it. Hopefully we can get better by playing these guys."
ORU, which had won three consecutive road games before trekking to Tucson, dropped to 5-5. The Golden Eagles played without freshman reserves Jorden Kaufman (foot injury) and Corbin Byford (ankle injury). Both are expected to miss a 2 p.m. Saturday home game against Mayor's Cup rival Tulsa.
Warren Niles scored 22 points despite being targeted by Arizona defenders, but was credited with eight of ORU's 20 turnovers. Shawn Glover matched a season-high point total by scoring 18 on 8-of-12 shooting. The Golden Eagles shot 38.3 percent from the field.
ORU's Warren Niles (13) tries to shoot over the defense of Arizona's Solomon Hill (left) and Angelo Chol during the first half Tuesday night at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. WILY LOW / Associated Press