Oral Roberts Uses Second-Half Surge to Topple Lady Bears
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Oral Roberts used a late rally and 29 points from All-America candidate Kevi Luper to knock off the Missouri State Lady Bears, 75-66, Tuesday evening at JQH Arena. Luper scored 19 points in the second half and set an arena record with seven steals to help the Golden Eagles snap a five-game losing streak.
Trailing 60-55 with just under nine minutes to play, ORU seized control of the contest by scoring 11 of the next 13 points. MSU would go three and-a-half minutes without a point and hit just two of its final 14 field goal attempts while committing seven turnovers in the final 8:35 of play.
Luper, who went 11-of-21 from the floor overall, hit on seven of 10 field goal tries after intermission to lead the ORU charge. The Golden Eagles took advantage of some Lady Bear charity, converting 24-of-28 free throw attempts on the night, including 21-of-25 in the second half to ultimately seal the outcome of the game.
Playing the majority of the game without Naismith Player of the Year candidate Casey Garrison due to injury, the Lady Bears were able to hang tough throughout the contest due in large part to some hot shooting from the perimeter. MSU was spot-on from long range in the opening half, connecting on 7-of-14 three-point attempts to help overcome 13 turnovers in the period and take a 38-32 lead into the break.
Missouri State wasted little time in building an early lead over the Golden Eagles, reeling off an 11-2 run after the two clubs traded baskets in the game's opening minute of play. Jasmine Malone stepped into a three-pointer from the right wing at the 18:57 mark, and Tia Mays putback a Christiana Shorter miss from the foul line moments later to give the Lady Bears an 8-2 edge.
Following a Shorter basket, Karly Buer connected from long range, stretching the MSU lead to 13-4 with just over 17 minutes to play in the half.
But ORU bounced back with an 11-2 spurt of its own to draw even with the Lady Bears midway through the half. Georgia Jones' three with 12:02 to play in the period squared the score at 15-15, and the two sides traded blows for much of the remainder of the half. But MSU had the last laugh in the opening stanza, as Hannah Wilkerson banked home a 25-footer with 1:48 left to spark an 8-2 Lady Bear run to close the scoring. The freshman guard scored once again with 51 seconds left on a breakaway layup before Jaleshia Roberson connected for her first triple of the season with just six seconds to go.
The Lady Bears would push their lead to as many as 10 points early in the second half, again due largely to their three-point shooting. Roberson hit from beyond the arc again on MSU's first possession of the period, and Buer did likewise one minute later. MSU claimed a 46-36 lead-its biggest of the night-on a Mays layup with 18:23 to play.
ORU once again clawed back, scoring 12 of the next 15 points, and pulling to within one on two different occasions before a Luper three at the 12:24 mark evened things up at 55-55.
MSU appeared to recover, reclaiming a five-point lead behind another Roberson three and an inside bucket by Whitney Edie. But the Golden Eagles surged from that point, scoring seven of the next nine points to tie it up at 62-62, then taking the lead for the first time (and for good) on two Staci Davis free throws with 4:22 left on the clock. When it was all said and done, ORU would out-score the Lady Bears 20-6 over the last 8:53.
Roberson and Shorter shared high-scoring honors for MSU, finishing with 12 points apiece. Garrison, who did not return to action following her injury, finished with a career-low two points, snapping a string of 30 consecutive games in double figures.
Up next, Missouri State will take on Eastern Michigan Friday (Dec. 3) evening in the third game of a five-game home stand at JQH Arena. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.