Niles, Bell-Holter help Oral Roberts beat Sam Houston State
BY MIKE MOGUIN World Correspondent
Friday, February 15, 2013
2/15/13 at 7:01 AM
Related story: ORU basketball notebook: Return to the court.
Oral Roberts was hoping to get started on a roll on Valentine's night at home after two straight losses on the road.
Perhaps it did just that with Warren Niles and Damen Bell-Holter accounting for two-thirds of the scoring in the Golden Eagles' 74-64 victory against Sam Houston State at the Mabee Center.
Niles finished with 25 points. Bell-Holter had 24, along with 14 rebounds, giving him a double-double.
"My teammates were pretty much finding me some shots," Niles said.
"Teams are going to try to double me," Bell-Holter said. "I'll make a lot of good passes, and all I'll try to do is get guys open shots and layups."
The win came in the first of a four-game homestand and snapped a two-game skid for the Golden Eagles. ORU had previously suffered road losses to Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin.
ORU (15-10 overall, 10-3 Southland Conference) opened up with a 14-4 lead through the first eight minutes and never relinquished, although the Bearkats (13-11, 6-6) did trim the deficit.
"I told our guys tonight this would be one of our tougher games down the stretch," ORU coach Scott Sutton said. "This is a start but we need continue to get better. I think we can go win these next six games playing like we did tonight."
The Golden Eagles established a comfortable 41-24 advantage by halftime. It would be their largest lead of the game.
Sam Houston State opened the second half with a 7-0 run, but ORU moved out to a 50-36 advantage after a three-point play by Bell-Holter.
"I thought we played an excellent first half," Sutton said. "I thought we played as well as we have in a long time in the first half. We challenged them at halftime to put them away because we hadn't played a complete game all year.
"It didn't happen tonight," Sutton said. "We came out the second half and kind of played like we had all year. We didn't guard at all. We allowed way too many second-chance opportunities."
Sam Houston State drew to within 58-50 when James Thomas hit a layup at the glass with 7:48 remaining in the game.
Niles got a basket at the top of the key and Korey Bradbury added another layup that pushed ORU's lead to 66-54 with two minutes left.
Sam Houston State would continue its hopes of a comeback with 3-pointers from Will Bond, with 1:05 to go, and Paul Baxter, with 42 seconds left, drawing to within 70-64.
But a pair of free throws each by Niles and Bell-Holter would seal it.
ORU had to play without the services of Shawn Glover. Glover, who had been leading the Golden Eagles in three of their previous five games, sustained an injury to his left eye in last Saturday's loss at Stephen F. Austin. He was expected to miss two games.
The Golden Eagles host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night.
ORU made 52 percent (24-of-46) of its shots, hit 29 percent (4-of-14) of its 3-point baskets and sank 82 percent (22-of-27) from the foul line.
Sam Houston State finished hitting 38 pecent (23-of-60) in field goals, 29 percent (7-of-24) in 3s and 55 percent (11-of-20) of free throws.
Original Print Headline: ORU gets back on track with home win
|Sam Houston St.
Vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
7:30 p.m. Saturday
Radio: KYAL fm97.1, am1550
Oral Roberts' D.J. Jackson defends Sam Houston State's Darius Gaston duroing Thursday's game in Tulsa. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World
Oral Roberts' Damen Bell-Holter shoots under pressure from James Thomas during Thursday's game. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World