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Defense Propels ORU to 73-66 Win over Missouri State

Defense Propels ORU to 73-66 Win over Missouri State

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The Basics
Score: Oral Roberts 73 – Missouri State 66
Record: ORU (3-9) – MSU (9-3)
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (Mabee Center)

TULSA, Okla. – The Oral Roberts defense put the clamps on Missouri State in the second half holding the Bears to 28 points and 36 percent from the field as the Golden Eagles earned the 73-66 victory Sunday afternoon at the Mabee Center.

ORU overcame a halftime deficit for the first time this season and earned the victory over a Missouri State team that was ranked 15th in the Mid-Major Poll, snapping the Bears' seven game winning streak.

Emmanuel Nzekwesi scored 17 points to lead ORU, while Javan White and Sam Kearns each grabbed six rebounds as well as reached double figures. Chris Miller, who earned the third start of his career, also scored 10 points. Kearns dished out a career best eight assists, his fourth game this season with at least five assists.

Jarrid Rhodes scored 14 points to lead the Missouri State attack, while J.T. Miller added 13 and Reggie Scurry scored 11 off the bench. Alize Johnson grabbed a team high seven rebounds while Jarred Dixon dished out seven assists.

Turning Point
ORU out-scored Missouri State 17-6 over an eight minute span stretching through halftime to erase a nine point deficit and take the lead. MSU would take a brief lead before a White dunk with 10:58 gave ORU the lead for the remainder of the game.

Individual Leaders
Oral Roberts: Nzekwesi was the scoring lead for ORU with 17 points, while White and Kearns had six rebounds each.
Missouri State:  Rhodes scored 14 while Johnson grabbed seven boards for the Bears.

Inside the Box Score
- ORU shot 53 percent (26-49) from the field for the game and 45 percent (9-20) from 3-point range.

- Missouri State finished the game at 45 percent (26-57) from the field and 29 percent (7-24) from 3-point range.

- ORU got to the free throw line 23 times, hitting 12 (52 percent), while MSU only got to the line 10 times and hit seven (70 percent).

- After giving up 55 percent in the first half, the ORU defense cracked down in the second frame, holding Missouri State to 10 fewer points and just 35 percent from the field.

- ORU had 18 assists in the game, matching a season high from their overtime game against Oakland, and turned the ball over a season low seven times.

News and Notes
- Nzekwesi was ORU's leading scorer for the fourth time this season and the seventh time in his career. Nzekwesi was one point away from his season high of 18, which he scored against Tulsa.  

- Kearns' eight assists were a new ORU career high, having dished out seven assists at both the Pepperdine and Little Rock games.

- ORU is now 134-37 (80 percent) at home since the start of the 2004-05 season.

- Missouri State entered the game on a seven game winning streak and ranked 15th in the most recent Mid-Major Poll.

Up Next
ORU heads back on the road for three straight road games before taking a break for Christmas. The road swing begins December 16 at Florida Gulf Coast before matching up with a pair of Power 5 opponents in Arkansas (Dec. 19) and Minnesota (Dec. 21).   

For the latest information on ORU men's basketball, follow @ORUMBB on Twitter or Instagram, or go to www.ORUAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the ORU Athletics Front Row App at ORUAthletics.com/frontrow  or the ORU Golden Eagles Live App in iTunes or the Google Play Store. For tickets, visit mabeecenter.com or call 495-7ORU (7678).

---#ORURiseUp---

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