TULSA, Okla. - Kevi Luper
scored 22 points and Jaci Bigham added 20 as Oral Roberts crushed Nicholls State, 84-56, on Thursday night at the Mabee Center. The win bumps ORU to 9-10 (6-3 Southland Conference).
The senior duo topped the 20-point mark in the same game for the first time since Nov. 27, 2010, a 93-86 loss to Houston.
"This was a great win for us tonight," said ORU Head Coach Misti Cussen. "The effort was there, the execution was there, and I am very pleased with the direction our team is moving right now."
Luper added a season-high 10 rebounds, while Bigham notched seven assists and six steals.
One key to the victory came in the rebounding column, where ORU beat Nicholls on the glass, 38-32.
"We really focused on rebounding this week in practice," said Bigham, who added four boards. "We didn't want it to be a factor in the game; we didn't want (the game) to come down to that."
Also joining the double-double party was Sarah Shelton, who scored 14 points and snatched 10 rebounds. Taylor Cooper added 12 points, all in the second half.
ORU shot 53.2% from the floor, with a 61.3% mark in the second half.
Alisha Allen scored 18 points to lead the Colonels (12-8, 4-5 SLC). Jasmine Scott chipped in 14 points off the bench.
The loss avenges a 69-66 setback ORU experienced at the hands of Nicholls on Jan. 5.
ORU came out hot, hitting five of their first seven field goal attempts. A Luper jumper at the 16:05 mark gave the Golden Eagles a 12-2 lead.
But Nicholls rallied and got back in the game from the free throw line. The Colonels hit six straight foul shots and tied the game at 12-all on a Scott bucket with 12:56 on the clock.
Bigham took the Golden Eagles on her back late in the half, scoring eight points as part of a 9-3 half-closing run. A three-point play with less than a second left in the period gave ORU a 34-27 lead at the break.
Luper had 14 points at the intermission on 7-for-9 shooting, while Bigham had 11 points in the opening period.
ORU cranked it into high gear to start the second half, opening the period on a 10-2 run. Bigham was again the hub of the wheel, scoring the first two field goals of the run and assisting on the next two to give the Golden Eagles a 44-29 lead.
The wave continued with a 9-0 run that pushed the lead over 20 points. A Luper steal and score gave the home team a 56-33 bulge with 13:37 left in the game.
Cussen's team posted their largest lead with 1:43 left, as Krisztina Velkey canned a jump shot to make the score 84-51.
ORU's 84-point output was their largest of the season against an NCAA Division I opponent.
Luper's double-double was her first since Jan. 3, 2011, when she had 34 points and 10 steals in a victory over Northeastern State.
The Golden Eagles cap their season-long four-game home stand on Saturday, February 2, when they host Southeastern Louisiana. Tip time is scheduled for 5 pm CT.