ORU Comeback Falls Short in 69-64 Loss to Montana

ORU Comeback Falls Short in 69-64 Loss to Montana

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The Basics
Score: Montana 69 – Oral Roberts 64
Records: Montana (3-1) – ORU (1-3)
Location: Malibu, Calif. (Firestone Fieldhouse)

MALIBU, Calif. – Trailing by 14 with 16 minutes to play, the Oral Roberts men's basketball team cut the deficit to three with 29 seconds to play, but was unable to complete the comeback and Montana held off the charge to win 69-64 Monday night at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, California.

Austin Ruder scored in double figures for the third time this season with a season best 19 points to lead all scorers in the game. Ruder was 6-9 from the field and 5-7 from 3-point range in the game. Sam Kearns chipped in 10 points as the only other double-figure scorer for the Golden Eagles.

Montana got 18 points from Ahmaad Rorie, 14 from Michael Oguine and 11 from Karl Nicholas. Neither team had anyone with more than six rebounds.

Turning Point
Kearns hit a 3-pointer with 29 seconds to play and ORU forced a timeout and a loose ball on the ensuing inbounds for Montana. The Grizzlies came up with the loose ball and ORU was forced to foul. Montana went 4-4 from the free throw line to end the game and thwart the ORU comeback attempt.

Quote of the Game
"I thought we did a good job guarding the 3-point line but the interior was where they got us late being able to duck us in and then get some offensive rebounds. We'll look at the film and get better from it." – ORU Head Coach Paul Mills

Individual Leaders
Oral Roberts: Ruder led ORU in scoring with 19 and was tied with Kearns for the team lead in assists with three. Emmanuel Nzekwesi led ORU in rebounding with six and steals with three.
Montana: Rorie's 18 points led the Griz, as did his six assists and three steals. Jamar Akoh and Oguine each had six rebounds to lead Montana.

Inside the Box Score
- Montana was out-shooting ORU at halftime 54 percent to 38 percent, but ORU found its offensive rhythm in the second half and finished the game with a better field goal percentage than Montana.

- ORU shot 50 percent in the second half and 44 percent (23-52) for the game. The Golden Eagles connected on 50 percent (8-16) from 3-point range and 66 percent (10-15) from the free throw line.

- Montana shot 43 percent (24-56) from the field but just 18 percent (4-22) from 3-point range. The Grizzlies hit 17-22 (77 percent) from the free throw line.

- Montana out-rebounded ORU 34-31 and held a 34-30 edge in points in the paint.  

News and Notes
- During ORU's final run that cut an 11-point deficit to three, ORU went 5-5 from the field, including 3-pointers from Ruder, Nzekwesi and Kearns.

- Emir Ahmedic had by far the most productive game of his young ORU career. The freshman had played just one minute all year but went 2- from the field and 2-2 from the free throw line with two steals in six minutes of action.

- ORU's eight 3-pointers were the most in a game this season, while ORU held Montana to just four triples, the fewest by an ORU opponent.

Up Next
ORU will wait until the second game of the tournament between Pepperdine and UC Santa Barbara finishes to find out both its opponent and time. The Golden Eagles will play the loser of the game and if it is UCSB the game will be at 5 p.m. (PT), if it is Pepperdine the game will be at 7:30 p.m. (PT) on Tuesday.

For the latest information on ORU men's basketball, follow @ORUMBB on Twitter or Instagram, or go to www.ORUAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the ORU Athletics Front Row App at ORUAthletics.com/frontrow  or the ORU Golden Eagles Live App in iTunes or the Google Play Store. For tickets, visit mabeecenter.com or call 495-7ORU (7678).

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