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First Half Run Sends ORU Past Western Illinois, 82-63

First Half Run Sends ORU Past Western Illinois, 82-63

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The Basics
Score: Oral Roberts 82 – Western Illinois 63
Record: ORU (7-11, 3-0) – WIU (6-10, 1-2)
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (Mabee Center)

TULSA, Okla. – The Oral Roberts men's basketball team mounted a 23-0 first half run and cruised to an 82-63 victory Saturday night at the Mabee Center. The win moves the Golden Eagles to 3-0 in Summit League play for the second year in a row.

Emmanuel Nzekwesi earned the double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Kaelen Malone narrowly missed the unconventional double-double with eight points but a career high 11 assists. Kevin Obanor led all scorers with 19 points, while Francis Lācis scored a career high 12 points on a 4-5 shooting effort from 3-point range.

Isaac Johnson and Kobe Webster each scored 15 points to lead Western Illinois, while Brandon Gilbeck scored 12 points but the nation's top shot blocker had seven blocks.

ORU out-rebounded WIU 44-27, including 18 offensive rebounds on 33 missed shots. ORU led WIU 11-2 in fast break points and 39-22 in points off the bench.

Quote of the Game
"I thought we had great energy, especially in the first half. When you are dealing with young kids, when they see the ball go in, their intensity picks up defensively. So for Francis to shoot the ball the way he did early, I thought it catapulted the guys to dig in a little deeper than maybe they normally would. Our ability to make shots in the first half and only having two turnovers allowed us to get out to a good start." – Coach Paul Mills

Turning Point
DeShang Weaver jump-started the 23-0 run and Obanor capped the spurt with a pair of jumpers to push a one point lead to 24 with 7:21 to play in the first half. WIU got no closer than 14 points the rest of the way.

Individual Leaders
Oral Roberts: Obanor scored 19 points to lead all scorers, while Nzekwesi grabbed a game high 10 rebounds. Malone dished out a game high 11 assists had three steals while Nzekwesi blocked three shots.
Western Illinois: Webster and Johnson each scored 15 points, while Webster led the Leathernecks with five rebounds. Gilbeck increased his national lead in blocked shots with seven.

Inside the Box Score
- ORU shot 46.8 percent (29-62) from the field, 47.8 percent (11-23) from 3-point range and 72 percent (13-18) from the free throw line.

- Western Illinois shot 41.4 percent (24-58) from the field, 28 percent (7-25) from 3-point range and 88.9 percent (8-9) from the free throw line.

- Each team had just 10 turnovers on the night with ORU registering eight steals on the 10 WIU turnovers.

- The Golden Eagles held a 44-27 rebounding advantage, a 17-10 lead in points off turnovers and 11-2 advantage in fast break. Points.

News and Notes
- ORU mounted a 23-0 run in the first half, the longest stretch of consecutive points scored since before the 2014-15 season.

- Nzewkesi earned his fifth double-double of the season and the second in Summit League play with 12 points and 10 rebounds. He is now 12 points away from 1,000 for his career.

- Malone became the first Golden Eagle to record at least 10 assists in a game since David Mason did it against Dallas Baptist in 2013. He was one helper away from tying for 10th in ORU program history.

- The 10 turnovers by ORU matches the season low set at SMU on December 2.

- Francis Lācis started 4-4 from 3-point range and scored a career high 12 points.

Up Next
ORU hits the road for a pair of games, traveling to Fort Wayne January 10 and South Dakota State January 12.      

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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