ORU's focus is on finishing
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Saturday, March 09, 2013
3/09/13 at 5:28 AM
Oral Roberts, 18-12 pending a regular season finale at Central Arkansas, is two wins away from a seventh 20-win season in the last nine years.
That sounds good, at least at face value.
But Scott Sutton said he would label ORU's current season as "a little bit disappointing."
Why? "Just because we haven't maximized our potential," he said during a pre-practice interview this week. "We didn't come close to it."
Some blame can be attributed to rarely having a full roster, according to the coach. Steven Roundtree and Shawn Glover shared a court in just four Southland Conference games.
Roundtree sustained knee and ankle injuries before the start of league play and, just when he seemed back to his old self, was suspended for two games last week. He is expected to play Saturday. Glover missed two games following a procedure to repair a torn tear duct and a lacerated eyelid.
Sutton also said this when recapping the season thus far: "Sports are games of inches and basketball is a game of one or two possessions per game that can go your way or go against you and we have had several just tough, tough losses. You are really close to having an outstanding season. But, because we lost those games, I would say it has been disappointing."
How can the Golden Eagles change Sutton's opinion?
"Win the tournament," he said.
Sutton was referring to the Southland Tournament, scheduled next week in Katy, Texas. The Golden Eagles need to complete a regular season sweep of Central Arkansas to generate momentum for postseason.
ORU is locked into a No. 3 seed and, if fortunate enough to survive a quarterfinal game, would likely have to beat No. 2 seed Northwestern State and No. 1 seed Stephen F. Austin on consecutive nights to earn an NCAA Tournament trip.
Going to the NCAA Tournament would provide image enhancement for a team that, so far, has fared poorly in circle-them-on-the-calendar games. Among them: Home losses to Oklahoma and Tulsa, a 1-3 record against the Southland's top two teams and a homecourt loss to Weber State in a senior night BracketBusters game.
"We won all those (big) games last year in the regular season for the most part and then we didn't win when it really mattered," Sutton said, referring to a Summit League Tournament loss to Western Illinois that wrecked ORU's NCAA Tournament hopes.
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389