Jan. 24, 2013
TULSA, Okla. - Three Cardinals set career scoring highs Thursday evening at the Mabee Center, but it was not enough as preseason Southland Conference favorite Oral Roberts handed Lamar University a 91-74 men's basketball loss.
Freshman Keilan Blanks sparked the Cards' rally in the first half on his way to a career-high 25 points. With Lamar (2-17 overall, 0-7 in the Southland) down 30-18 at the 5:26 mark, Blanks scored six of the Cards' next 10 points as they pulled to within 32-28 with less than a minute to play.
ORU (11-8 overall, 6-1 in the Southland) closed the half on a 5-1 run over the last minutes to build a 37-29 lead at the break.
Lamar, which shot a solid 51.4 percent from the floor in the second half, kept it close and trailed just 53-48 with 14:35 to play after a Donnell Minton 3-pointer. ORU then went on an 18-2 run to build a 21-point lead with less than 11 minutes to play.
The Cardinals did not go away and a Minton layup and free throw with 3:57 on the clock made it an 80-69 game. The Cardinals, who were outscored 11-0 in points off turnovers, would get no closer as ORU pulled away for the win.
"I thought those two (Blanks and Minton) really stepped it up tonight," said LU head coach Pat Knight. "Coming in here, they didn't play like freshman tonight. This is one of the toughest places to play and this is one of the best teams in the league. They really grew up tonight."
Lamar finished the game shooting 49.2 percent from the floor and 6-of-13 from 3-point range. The six 3-pointers are a season-high for the Cards as Blanks accounted for five of them.
ORU, which got 33 points from Warren Niles, shot 47.3 percent in the contest. The Golden Eagles grabbed 15 offensive rebounds in the game and finished with a 15-4 advantage in second chance points.
Blanks finished 8-of-14 from the floor and 5-of-7 from 3-point range. He would add four free throws, and dished out four of Lamar's 14 assists. Minton was also 8-of-14 en route to a personal-best 17 points, adding five assists and three boards.
Senior Stan Brown, along with Nikko Acosta and Sebastian Norman, did a good job of batting ORU forward Damen Bell-Holter. The Southland's leading rebounder at 9.8 per game entering the night, Bell-Holter finished with 15 points and eight boards. While those numbers are solid, he was just 5-of-17 from the floor after shooting 66.7 percent through the Golden Eagles' first six league games.
Brown would match a career-high with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He added a team-high seven rebounds. Fellow senior Donley Minor scored just seven in the game, but added five assists, four rebounds and a career-high three blocked shots.
"We just have to show up ready to play and I thought we did tonight," said Knight about the Cards' effort. "It was the first time that we didn't get down in too big of a hole and that's a key for us. We have to show up and play hard for 40 minutes and it was nice to see that tonight."
After scoring 14 points in the first half, Niles really went to work in the second. The senior guard, who came in averaging a league-best 19.0 points per game, shot 12-of-24 from the floor, including 5-of-11 from 3-point range.
Forward Shawn Glover, a Utah transfer, was 11-of-17 from the floor on his way to a career-high 24 points. Glover led all players with nine rebounds and had two of ORU's seven blocked shots. Korey Billbury came off the bench to grab six boards and hand out 10 of the Golden Eagles' 21 assists.
Lamar will look to stay perfect all-time against Central Arkansas when the two teams meet Saturday afternoon at the Farris Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. following the women's game.