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Archive for Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oral Roberts cruises to 72-56 win over Texas Tech

December 22, 2011

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— Dominique Morrison wasn't going to let a rare chance for Oral Roberts to defeat a Big 12 team slip away on Thursday night.

Morrison scored 16 of his 26 points in the second half to lead the Golden Eagles past Texas Tech 72-56.

It was the first win for the Golden Eagles (9-4) over a Big 12 team since beating Missouri on Dec. 9, 2009. Texas Tech (5-5) lost for only the second time in 16 games against Summit League teams. It also was the Eagles' first win over the Red Raiders in eight tries in a series that dates to 1993.

"It's a BCS school, it's a huge win for us," said Morrison, a 6-foot-6 senior who averages 16.2 points per game.

Morrison, who was playing with four fouls, had eight points in a clinching 11-0 run late in the game. Warren Niles added 16 points for the Golden Eagles.

"He's a very good player," Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie said. "I thought before the game that this was the best team that we've played, and I'm not feeling any differently."

Jordan Tolbert led the Red Raiders with 21 points and nine rebounds. Tolbert scored 16 points in the second half. Robert Lewandowski added 10 points and six rebounds.

"He's going to be a monster, but one guy's not going to get it done," Gillispie said, referring to Tolbert. "We've got to get better play out of our returning players."

Oral Roberts was not seriously threatened in the second half, but Texas Tech cut its deficit to 58-49 on Jaron Nash's layup with 6:44 left. Niles countered with a 3-pointer, and Morrison followed with two free throws, a three-point play and another 3-pointer for a 69-49 lead with 1:53 remaining.

"They were fighting the whole game and we knew they were going to make their run," Morrison said. "We knew we had to make ours."

Morrison added two free throws as Oral Roberts matched its largest lead, 71-51, with 1:15 remaining. He made 7 of 11 shots from the field and 9 of 12 free throws.

Niles was 6 of 10 from the field, including 4 of 6 on 3-pointers.

The Golden Eagles rode a 19-2 first-half run, including seven points by Damen Bell-Holter, to a 37-20 halftime lead and that was too much for the Red Raiders to overcome.

"They just whipped us," Gillispie said. "Sixteen turnovers in a (first) half, that's just not going to cut it."

Texas Tech shot 53 percent (16 of 29) in the second half and committed just four turnovers, but could not overcome its slow start as it lost for the fifth time in its last seven games. ORU finished at 44 percent (20 of 45) from the field, including 9 of 19 (47 percent) on 3-pointers.

The Golden Eagles made 23 of 32 free throws, compared to 9 of 15 for Texas Tech. Bell-Holter had a game-high 10 rebounds and scored 11 points.

"It's a good win anytime you beat a Billy Gillispie-coached team and a Big 12 team," Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton said.

Oral Roberts spoiled Gillispie's return to the city where he spent three seasons (1997-2000) as an assistant under Bill Self at Tulsa, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2000.

"It's always great to be back in Tulsa," Gillispie said. "It's an unbelievable town."

The Golden Eagles have won two in a row and nine of their last 11 after starting the week with a win at Xavier.

"I thought we really played a good first half, with the exception of three or four possessions late in the half," Sutton said. "Then we ran off seven straight points to end the half, and that was huge."

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