Oral Roberts University (7-6, 4-1) played Denver (1-9, 0-3) Friday afternoon. The DU game plan was to contain Oral Roberts’ big three – Kevin Obanor (20.5 ppg.), Max Abmas (21.0 ppg.) and RJ Glaspar (10.3 ppg) who have collectively accounted for 59 percent of the Golden Eagles scoring this season, including 87 percent of all Golden Eagles points over the last five games. The Pioneers held Obanor at bay (11 points) but 34 points from Abmas and 14 by Glaspar were enough to earn a tight victory for the visitors, 88-84.
DU played ORU close the entire game but could not stop the Golden Eagles down the stretch. DU played the game without injured big man Robert Jones. DU freshmen Eric Moenkhause and Sam Hines, Jr. stepped up with 14 points each and Jase Townsend scored 27 points in a hard-fought home loss.
Denver had a solid start to the game and held a 10-8 lead five minutes into the first frame. ORU moved out to a 24-19 lead midway into the half scoring from the inside and going 3/4 from beyond the arc. ORU extended their lead, 36-29, but the Pioneers came back with an 8-0 run. DU took the lead with 3:18 remaining, 37-36, on a three-point shot from Eric Moenkhaus. The Pioneers and Golden Eagles traded buckets over the next three minutes. The half concluded with another Moenkhaus three-point shot and a Javonni Bickham put-back to give DU a one-point lead at half, 45-44. Moenkhaus led the Pioneers with 10 points in the half and Sam Hines, Jr. with 8.
DU remained in contact with the Golden Eagles, trailing 55-53 in the early stages of the second half. Sam Hines made three critical buckets to keep the game close while ORU’s Max Abnas carried the Golden Eagles. With 10:41 to go, ORU’s top player, Kevin Obanor, picked up his fourth foul against Jovonni Bickham with the score tied 61-61 with 10 minutes to go. DU trailed by 5 points, 73-68, with six minutes to go on two minutes of cold shooting from the field. But DU kept battling, slicing into the Golden Eagles seven-point lead with three minutes to go as Obanor fouled out of the game. A layup by Jase Townsend followed by a Townsend 3-point shot pulled the Pioneers within three points of ORU with 30 seconds to go but that is as close as Denver could get. Final score 88-82.
Both teams shot well from beyond that arc with 9 makes each and turnovers were nearly even – 10-9. Nearly every statistical category was even except for field goal shooting. ORU topped Denver, 50% to 43.9%, from the field. That was the difference this afternoon.
DU plays ORU once again tomorrow (Saturday) at noon.