Nov. 30, 2011
FINAL STATS (PDF)
TULSA, Okla. – A late rally by the Missouri State Bears fell short in a 68-63 road loss to Oral Roberts here Wednesday, MSU's first defeat of the 2011-12 campaign.
Down 62-52 with 1:24 remaining, the Bears (4-1) knocked down three three-pointers in the final 39 seconds to make things close down the stretch. ORU (5-2), however, had 12 free throw attempts in that span, making eight, including a pair of key makes by Warren Niles with 4.7 ticks left after MSU had trimmed its deficit to 66-63 on a trey by Anthony Downing.
MSU whittled a 14-point halftime deficit to eight five minutes into the second period on a layup by Christian Kirk made it 40-32. MSU would manage just two field goals over the next five minutes, while ORU built its advantage to 15 points after a three by Roderick Pearson with just under 10 minutes to go made it 49-34.
Kyle Weems, who scored a game-high 22 points, brought the Bears back from there as he reeled off four field goals over a span of three-and-a-half minutes to begin the Missouri State rally. Weems' trey at the 3:47 mark made it a 57-50 contest.
ORU climbed back ahead by 10 before Weems made it an eight-point game with 72 seconds left. Weems's left-wing jumper before a three by Michael Bizoukas 33 seconds later made it a six-point contest, 63-57.
When Weems made it 65-60 on his fourth three of the night, ORU opened the door by missing three of its next four charity shots, which Downing took advantage of with 5.3 ticks left. The juco transfer from Atchison, Kan., made it 66-63 on a clutch trey from the left side.
Despite heavy pressure on the ensuing in-bound pass, the Bears could not come up with a steal and had to send Niles back to the line to seal the win for the home club.
The Bears held ORU to 8-for-25 (.320) shooting in the second half after surrendering 14 field goals in the first 20 minutes. The difference came at the foul line where the Golden Eagles had 16 more attempts and 12 more makes than MSU at the charity stripe in a contest where the home team was whistled for just 12 fouls.
Caleb Patterson scored 14 points to join Weems in double figures. Keith Pickens tabbed a team-high 8 rebounds off the bench, while Bizoukas added 7 points and 5 assists.
Niles led four ORU players in double figures with 19 points and an 8-for-8 day at the free throw line, while Steven Roundtree grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
MSU finished 25-for-57 (.439) from the field and 7-for-15 (.467) from long range while making 6-of-10 free throws and committing 13 turnovers – four in the second half.
ORU, the preseason favorite in the Summit League, finished 22-for-53 (.415), including 6-for-15 (.400) from three-point range. Oral Roberts was also 18-of-26 (.692) at the free throw line and held a 39-31 rebounding advantage over Missouri State.
The slow start in the first half saw the Bears in a 36-22 hole at the intermission after matching the Golden Eagles punch for punch in the first seven minutes. MSU took an 11-9 lead on a layup by Christian Kirk at the 13:34 mark to keep the early momentum going.
However, from there, ORU reeled off 13 straight points over a five-and-a-half minute span to build 22-11 advantage at the eight-minute mark.
The Bears fought back within six on a Kyle Weems three-pointer with just over seven minutes to play in the opening half, but Niles responded with 10 points in the span of less than four minutes to put the home club up by double digits at the intermission, and ORU never trailed again.
Missouri State rounds out a two-game road swing Saturday at New Mexico, a 9 p.m. (Central) tipoff from The Pit in Albuquerque.