ORU not pleased despite win over Lamar
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Friday, January 25, 2013
1/25/13 at 7:01 AM
Related story: Shelton shines as ORU routs Lamar.
Warren Niles and Shawn Glover combined for 57 points in Oral Roberts' 91-74 victory over Lamar.
Neither of them smiled during a postgame press conference Thursday night. In fact, they seemed sullen.
Perhaps this is why: Niles said he knows a "hard" practice - probably all defensive drills - is ahead because the Golden Eagles did not play well defensively against the only Southland Conference team that is winless in league play.
"They realize that we didn't play nearly up to our capabilities," coach Scott Sutton said.
Lamar came to the Mabee Center ranked 332 out of 345 Division I teams in scoring and last nationally in 3-pointers per game.
Freshman guard Keilan Blanks came off the bench to score 25 points, most by any Lamar player this season. The Cardinals shot 49.2 percent from the field, scored their third-most points this season and made the Golden Eagles work a lot harder than expected to improve to 11-8 overall and 6-1 in league play.
Lamar won the Southland Conference Tournament and represented the league in the NCAA Tournament last season, but the Cardinals are in rebuild mode after losing their top five scorers. They dropped to 2-17 overall and 0-7 in conference games.
Sutton predicted Lamar coach Pat Knight will get the program going again and the ORU coach credited the Cardinals for what they were able to accomplish at his team's expense.
Then Sutton used the words "not acceptable" when describing what he saw from the Golden Eagles.
"It's not a championship-type performance," he said. "And that's what I'm trying to get across to these guys. Yeah, we won the game, but until we change and get better in a lot of areas, we are not going to achieve our goals. We'll go win a bunch of games and have a chance to win 20 and maybe get to postseason, but if we don't get better on the defensive end, we certainly are not going to be going to the NCAA Tournament and that's our goal. I hope they understand that."
ORU led by as many as 11 points in the first half and let Lamar creep within four. The Golden Eagles pushed the margin to 22 in the second half and the Cardinals rallied within 11.
There might have been nervous moments at the end if ORU hadn't brought its A-game on at least one end of the court.
Niles scored 33 points, matching the second-highest total of his career, and Glover scored a season-high 24 on a night when the Golden Eagles manufactured their biggest point total of the season. Damen Bell-Holter, the Southland Conference's reigning player of the week, added 15 points.
Redshirt freshman guard Korey Billbury came off the bench to dish a career-best 10 assists, most by an ORU player since Roderick Pearson collected 12 at South Dakota on Dec. 30, 2011.
ORU combined for 21 assists and only four turnovers and hit 9-of-20 shots from 3-point range to clinch their second-best record through the first seven games of league play since the 2008-09 season. They started 7-0 last season.
Vs. McNeese St.
7:30 p.m. Saturday
Radio: KYAL fm97.1
Original Print Headline: Win is not enough for ORU
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389
ORU's Brandon Conley splits the Lamar defense for a score on Thursday night at the Mabee Center. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World
ORU's Warren Niles, who finished with a game-high 33 points, makes one of his five 3-pointers. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World