TULSA — After the University of Central Arkansas Bears put themselves in a hole the first half Saturday night, Oral Roberts held off a 3-point surge in the second half for a 93-80 victory at the Mabee Center.
The Bears (4-10, 1-2), down 21 at halftime, nailed 6 of 11 from 3-point range in the second half (54.5 percent) and cut a 26-point deficit to j10 points with 4:14 to play. Senior guard DeShone McClure led the charge, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers in less than a minute.
McClure, who finished 6 of 7 from 3-point range, scored 25 points, with 16 of those coming in the second half. Fellow Jacksonville senior LaQuentin Miles tied his career high with 29 points and added a team-high nine rebounds. But no other UCA player scored more than Aubrey Ball’s 7 as the Bears shot just 38.5 percent from the field.
ORU (8-8, 2-1) had four players in double figures and was 30 of 39 (76.9) percent as UCA’s Daouda Berete fouled out and three other players finished the game with four fouls. The Bears had a season-low seven turnovers but were outrebounded 50-29 by the taller Golden Eagles.
“We tried to make a game of it in the second half,’ said UCA coach Clarence Finley. “Our press gave us a little energy and we knocked down some 3s, but we just didn’t finish around the basket.
“But I told them, I was very proud of the way they fought. They could have given up the first half. But they came out the second half and they wanted to press the way they know I want to press. We were able to get some steals and some baskets and get a little bit of momentum. But we just dug ourselves a deep grave the first half and just couldn’t get over that."
The Bears led 10-9 early in the game, but the Golden Eagles put together a 24-5 scoring run to grab a 33-15 lead with 7:18 left in the first half. ORU then drilled a pair of 3-pointers, by D.J. Jackson and Bobby Word, in the final 25 seconds to give the Golden Eagles a 53-32 halftime cushion.
ORU’s Shawn Glover, the No. 2 scorer in the SLC, finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Golden Eagles, while Word added 20, hitting 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. Korey Billbury added 16 points and Jackson 12.
“We had him (Glover) with four fouls in the second half and we tried to go with an isolation play against him," Finley said, “but we took the 3 instead of taking it to the basket and trying to get that fifth foul on him. After that, he made some big shots down the stretch, which broke our back when we made that run at them."
UCA, which has struggled at the free-throw line all season, shot a season-high 78.6 percent (22 of 28) for the game.
The Bears remain on the road for two games next week, playing at SLC newcomers Incarnate Word on Thursday in San Antonio and at Abilene Christian on Saturday.