ORU unravels in 'bad, bad loss' at McNeese State
BY Staff Reports
Friday, March 01, 2013
3/01/13 at 7:08 AM
LAKE CHARLES, La. - Oral Roberts had avoided, at least from an RPI standpoint, bad losses this season. Then came Thursday night.
ORU squandered an 11-point lead late in the second half and was beaten 56-54 by McNeese State. The Golden Eagles played without Steven Roundtree, who did not make the trip because he violated an unspecified team policy.
Before this week, ORU was 16-3 against opponents outside the top 100 of the RPI and the "worst" loss was to Tulsa, whose RPI is 139. McNeese State's RPI is 242.
Scott Sutton referred to what happened at Burton Coliseum as a "bad, bad loss" - not because of who it happened against, but because of how his team unraveled.
"We had an 11-point lead with the ball with six-and-a-half minutes left and I think they outscored us (20-7) the rest of the way," said the frustrated ORU coach.
"Down the stretch you have got to step up and get stops and make plays. Last year we had Dominique (Morrison). Dominique bailed us out of so many games. This year we have struggled to close out games."
The cost of failure in this instance was significant. A victory would have allowed ORU to move a half-game behind Southland Conference co-leaders Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin, who play each other Saturday.
The top two teams in the standings get byes into the semifinal round of the Southland Tournament. The Golden Eagles (17-12 overall, 12-4 in conference play) can, in all likelihood, count on playing in the quarterfinal round.
McNeese State (12-14, 6-9) won a third consecutive Southland game. The Cowboys secured their biggest win since a Dec. 12 conquest of Louisiana Tech, which is undefeated in Western Athletic Conference games.
ORU beat McNeese State by 21 points at the Mabee Center on Jan. 26, getting 46 points and 16 rebounds from Shawn Glover and Damon Bell-Holter.
In the rematch, Glover scored a team-best 18 points and Bell-Holter collected 13 points and 13 rebounds for his 12th double-double this season.
Warren Niles added 16 points, but shot 6-of-19 from the field, was 4-of-12 from 3-point range and missed two free throws that could have tied the game with a minute remaining.
After the missed free throws, ORU got a steal and a Glover dunk to knot the score at 54. But Dontae Cannon, who scored a game-high 19 points, was fouled by Mikey Manghum and provided the final margin by making two free throws with 15.7 seconds left.
The Golden Eagles fed the ball inside to Bell-Holter on a final possession, but the ball was jostled free and recovered by Cannon.
"He can't get stripped there," Sutton said. "I know there was a little bit of contact, but you've got to get a shot off."
Sutton suggested his team lacks intangibles like toughness, pride and heart. The Golden Eagles gave up 12 unanswered points immediately after building their 11-point lead.
"How many times are we going to go down this road where we have given up leads and lost games we shouldn't have?" Sutton said.
"It's just sickening. Again, that's the difference between having a championship team and having a team that wins 23, 23, 25 games and having a team like this. You look at all those close games that we have lost and all those leads that we have given up."
ORU's bench was scoreless for the fourth time this season. The Golden Eagles are 0-4 when their bench gets blanked. McNeese State scored only six bench points.
Original Print Headline: ORU unravels in road loss
McNeese State 56, ORU 54
ORU up next
At Lamar 6 p.m. Saturday
Radio: KYAL fm97.1, am1550
Oral Roberts' Damen Bell-Holter goes up for a shot against three McNeese State defenders during Thursday's game at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles, La. RICK HICKMAN/ For the Tulsa World
Oral Roberts' Brandon Conley puts up a layup over McNeese State's Craig McFerrin during Thursday's game in Lake Charles, La. RICK HICKMAN/For the Tulsa World