ORU notebook: Breakout performer
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Friday, January 11, 2013
1/11/13 at 2:28 AM
Breakout performer: ORU senior forward Damen Bell-Holter was playing his first game since earning a national player of the week award for individuals at mid-major programs.
And he played like he might win it again.
Bell-Holter collected 25 points and 20 rebounds in an 80-74 victory over Northwestern State, helping ORU to a 46-27 advantage on the boards.
"Damen continues to play at a level that very few guys have played at since I have been here," coach Scott Sutton said.
Bell-Holter was chosen the Lou Henson Award national player of the year this week after collecting 61 points and 21 rebounds during ORU's first Southland Conference road swing.
Bell-Holter averaged 7.9 points and 5.8 rebounds as a junior. What sparked him to big numbers lately?
"We have seen glimpses of that the last three-and-a-half years," Sutton said.
"Confidence is such a big deal in everything and everybody and I think even more so with Damen. You could tell early in his career where he had some success early in games he was going to have a good game. It's something as you get older (you wouldn't think) that he wouldn't need something good (to happen early). He could be confident (regardless).
"But I think over these last couple of weeks, we have talked to him a bunch and we had a good talk after the Tulsa game and I think he just realized - sometimes it clicks with seniors. This is it. This is my last go-round. I told him I believed in him and I told him he could be the most dominant player in this league. I'm certainly not giving myself credit for that, but he has gone out the last three games and has been terrific."
Game changer: A catalyst in ORU's come-from-behind victory was redshirt freshman point guard D.J. Jackson. Northwestern State led by three points before he scored eight points and dished an assist for a Shawn Glover dunk during a 13-4 run that gave the Golden Eagles the lead for good.
Jackson scored a career-best 15 points.
"We knew D.J. was capable of doing that any night," Warren Niles said. "We know he can shoot the ball good. Any given day, it could be D.J. or Korey (Billbury) or Mikey (Manghum). We have got the confidence in them and they have confidence in themselves."
Jackson also hit 4-of-4 free throws in the final minute to keep the Demons from getting within striking distance.
ORU's Warren Niles tries to get around Northwestern State's Gary Stewart. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World