TULSA, Okla. -
Oral Roberts University was in danger of a second straight exhibition loss before a 19-0 2nd half run rescued the Golden Eagles, helping them to a 74-54 victory over Oklahoma Baptist on Saturday night at the Mabee Center.
Kevi Luper led the Golden Eagles with 25 points, eight rebounds and eight steals, while freshman Taylor Cooper added 16 points and four steals. ORU shot 43.7% from the floor, including a 54.1% mark in the second half.
Jaci Bigham made her 2012-13 debut on Saturday night after missing Monday's exhibition opener. The senior was a major catalyst for the Golden Eagles, scoring four points and dishing 12 assists.
OBU was led by Zbeyda Aremi with 17 points, while Bretlin Gabelmann added 16 points. OBU shot just 34.8% in the second half and 39.1% for the game.
The Golden Eagles forced five turnovers in the game's first five minutes, and the Bison missed their first five shots. ORU took control in a hurry, as a three-pointer by Cooper gave the home team an 11-0 lead at the 15:47 mark.
The Bison didn't fade away through, tightening the game up midway through the half. A Lilia Inoubli three-ball capped a 12-2 OBU run that cut ORU's advantage to 18-15 at the 7:49 mark.
After closing the gap to 30-28 at the halftime break, OBU completed their comeback just four seconds into the first half when Charity Fowler drained a jumper, tying the game at 30-all.
ORU countered with an 11-3 run to rebuild their lead. Luper started the rally with a jumper and finished it with a three-point play, giving the Golden Eagles a 41-33 advantage with 16:49 on the clock.
But the Bison would not back down. A 9-2 OBU run, capped by a Gabelmann three-pointer, gave the NAIA club a 46-45 lead with 12:30 left in the game.
That lead would be the high point for Oklahoma Baptist, who surrendered the next 19 points to dissolve any chance they had of springing the upset. Luper scored eight points during the run, and Bigham assisted on five of ORU's nine consecutive baskets, helping the home team to a healthy 64-46 lead with just over seven minutes to play.
The lead would remain in double-digits for the duration of the game.
Bernadett Balla added 11 points for the Golden Eagles, while Savanna Buck matched Luper for the team lead with eight rebounds.
The Golden Eagles open the 2012-13 regular season on Friday, November 9 against Tulsa. The Mayor's Cup clash is scheduled for 7 pm CT at the Mabee Center.