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Strong Second Half Not Enough in 79-67 Loss at SMU

Strong Second Half Not Enough in 79-67 Loss at SMU

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The Basics
Score: SMU 79 – Oral Roberts 67
Record: SMU (6-3) – ORU (3-7)
Location: Dallas, Texas (Moody Coliseum)

DALLAS, Texas – The Oral Roberts men's basketball team out-scored SMU 44-37 in the second half, but it wasn't enough overcome the Mustangs' hot start as SMU prevailed 79-67 Sunday afternoon at Moody Coliseum.

Down by as many as 22 in the first half, ORU came back and cut it to a seven point game with 3:04 to play thanks to a 9-0 spurt.

Emmanuel Nzekwesi led ORU with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Kaelen Malone dished out a game-high eight assists. Eight different Golden Eagles scored, but Sam Kearns was the only Golden Eagle other than Nzekwesi to reach double figures as Kearns went 4-6 from 3-point range and scored 14 points. Francis Lācis hit his first three 3-point attempts and finished with nine points, his first game with multiple 3-pointers this year.

SMU got 17 points and nine rebounds from Ethan Chargois, while Jahmal McMurray added 16 points.

SMU held a 36-26 advantage in rebounds, and shot 52 percent from the field while ORU shot 43 percent.

Quote of the Game
"Francis (Lācis) did a good job of keeping the floor spread. We knew we were going to have to make some threes to give ourselves an opportunity and he can do that. We knew he was a better shooter than what he had showed, and we were fortunate that he was able to stretch the floor and do some things offensively." – Head Coach Paul Mills

Turning Point
ORU mounted a late 9-0 run with back-to-back 3-pointers from DeShang Weaver and a basket and foul from Aidan Saunders to make it a seven point game with 3:04 to play. McMurray stopped the ORU run with a 3-pointer to push the SMU lead back to 10 and hold off the ORU charge.

Individual Leaders
Oral Roberts: Nzekwesi led ORU with 18 points and eight rebounds. Malone had eight assists.
SMU: Chargois led the Mustangs with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Dixon had five assists.

Inside the Box Score
- ORU shot 43 percent (24-55) from the field, but an outstanding 48 percent (12-25) from 3-point range. ORU hit 9-15 from long range in the second half after starting the game 3-10. ORU was 7-8 from the free throw line.

- SMU shot 52 percent (29-56) from the field and 47 percent (8-17) from 3-point range. The Mustangs hi 13-17 from the free throw line.

- While ORU heated up in the second half, going 9-15 from 3-point range, the Mustangs went the other direction and hit just 1-6 in the second stanza after starting the game 7-11 from 3-point range.

- ORU had 16 assists and just 10 turnovers, while blocking two shots and earning four steals.

- SMU had 16 assists and seven turnovers, with four blocks and five steals.

News and Notes
- Malone's eight assists are a season high and the most by a Golden Eagle this season. Sunday was the seventh time this year a Golden Eagle has had five or more assists in a game, and the fourth time Malone has done so. His previous high was seven helpers against BYU.

- ORU finished the game with just 10 turnovers, the fewest in a game this season.

- The 12 3-pointers from the Golden Eagles were also the most in a game this year. Not only did ORU hit the most 3-pointers, the Golden Eagles also posted their best 3-point percentage of the year, topping 40 percent from long range for the first time at 48 percent (12-25).

- The 26 rebounds were the fewest in a game, matching the 26 boards against Northern Illinois.

- ORU had just two blocks in the game, matching the fewest in a game this year. ORU also blocked just two shots against Oakland.

- SMU started the game 6-8 from 3-point range, with all six coming from a different player.

Up Next
ORU will return to the Mabee Center Wednesday, December 5, to host Florida Gulf Coast at 7 p.m.   

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


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