Men's Basketball: Oral Roberts
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Monday, January 21, 2013
1/21/13 at 5:55 AM
10-8 overall, 5-1 Southland
with D.J. Jackson
Position: Point guard
Weight: 175 pounds
Hometown: Kansas City, Mo.
Jackson has started nine games at point guard during his redshirt freshman season and leads ORU in assists. He averages 4.3 points but has become more of a scorer lately, averaging 7 points during Southland Conference games and 14 points in league home games. Jackson said he got stronger and acquired knowledge about the college game during his first year on campus. He said he works on "a little bit of everything" because he wants to overcome lack of size.
Of all the schools that recruited you, why did you choose ORU?
They showed my town a lot of love with (signing Dominique) Morrison and Michael Craion and Rod Pearson down here and they liked it and I'm real close with a lot of those guys, so I decided this would be a great fit for me, too.
In what way are you smarter about basketball than when you first arrived on campus?
So much preparation goes into the college game with scouting reports and knowing guys' strengths and weaknesses, but also knowing your own strengths and weaknesses and what you need to work on in the college game, because if there are some things you can't do, the other team does such a good job of exploiting you.
What should people know about you that they can't learn from a stat sheet or media guide?
I just feed off a lot of support from my coaches and my players. It just gets me going when I see those guys having a good time and us winning. And, the coaches staying on me; I'm one of those kids that I like that type of stuff, when they try to correct me. I'm always that guy that just sits there and listens and tries to learn from whatever they have to say.
ORU improved to 4-0 in Southland road games by sweeping Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Sam Houston State.
The week ahead
Thursday: vs. Lamar, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: vs. McNeese State, 7:30 p.m.
Lamar, which represented the Southland in the NCAA Tournament last season, is 2-16 overall and 0-6 in conference games. McNeese State is 8-8 overall and 2-4 in league games. The two teams are 1-17 on the road.
The big picture
Sweet spot in schedule arrives
Next for ORU are four consecutive home games. That begins a stretch in which the Golden Eagles play eight of 10 at home. The only road games during that span are big ones - Feb. 7 at Northwestern State and Feb. 9 at Stephen F. Austin. After this 10-game stretch, ORU will have only three regular-season games left, all on the road.
Sixth man makes strides
Bench scoring has been an issue for ORU, which has a shortened bench because of injuries to starter Steven Roundtree and reserves Jorden Kaufman and Corbin Byford, who is redshirting. But Korey Billbury came off the bench at Sam Houston State to produce career highs in points (16), rebounds (8) and steals (4).
Scott Sutton said it was the best Billbury has played since preseason, when the redshirt freshman guard from Booker T. Washington temporarily cracked the starting lineup. The coach said Saturday that Billbury is starting to figure out some things "where he doesn't have to go in there and make the spectacular play. (He needs to) just be solid and defend and don't turn it over." Billbury also makes things happen, but there's a risk-reward factor. He leads the team in turnovers and shares the team lead in steals.
Where does ORU stand in the league race?
The Golden Eagles are alone in second place. That's important because the top two teams in the Southland standings earn byes into the semifinals of the postseason tournament. There's a chance ORU could be tied for first by the end of the week. League leader Stephen F. Austin will play only one game this week, but it's the Lumberjacks' most difficult remaining road game (at Northwestern State) of the season.
ORU's Korey Billbury (top) and Shawn Glover (middle) look at officials for a call as they fight for a loose ball during a Jan. 12 game against Stephen F. Austin at the Mabee Center. JOEY JOHNSON / For the Tulsa World