“Finding consistency” was the phrase senior center Albert Owens used to describe Wednesday night’s 90-80 victory over South Dakota.
The Golden Eagles found a way to contain the Coyotes, who came in to the came second in the conference going into Wednesday night’s game, but South Dakota State couldn’t find a way to contain ORU’s big men.
Owens, who leads the team in scoring (16.3 PPG), continued his consistent season dominating the Coyotes in the paint.
“He demands double teams. I’ll keep saying it, our best offense is when we get him the ball and let him make decisions out of it,” said Men’s head basketball coach Scott Sutton. “I was really proud of Chris [Miller]. It’s so important for him to be able to play for us, mainly because he’s talented, but also to be able to put Albert on the bench and give him some rest.”
The game plan after a strong first few minutes of the first half seemed to lean toward feeding the post as backup center Chris Miller did just as much damage of the bench. Miller saw his first double team of the season after starting the game 4 for 4 from the field, which he said didn’t faze him.
“I been working on it in practice every day so I was used to it. I just dribbled out of it and try to find my teammates the best I can,” said Miller. “My confidence level was up tonight.”
Owens dropped a team-high 21 points to go along with 5 rebounds. Miller added 8 points off the bench.
“We really tried to slow down our offense, not so much run and gun. Coach [Sutton] had really been focused on that,” said Owens on the team’s offensive success. “In the first half against IUPUI on Saturday, we did a good job of getting the shots we wanted, but in the second half that first four minutes really killed us. I guess you can say, we’ve been turning our offense into our best defense.”
The Golden Eagles had control of the game for much off the first half, but a 21-8 run by South Dakota gave the Coyotes a 41-38 lead at the half. After doing much of the work in the first half, Sutton needed his guards to pick up their play in the second half. That’s exactly what they did.
“I’m proud of our guys, the way they responded the second half. Especially our guards. We challenged those three senior guards, they didn’t have a very good first half,” said Sutton. “They came out and had a great second half. That was the biggest difference in the game. Obviously, the best I’ve seen Deuce [Aaron Anderson] with a double-double, Aaron Young gave us a spark off the bench and I thought Jalen made two huge plays.
The guard play certainly improved for the Golden Eagles. Redshirt senior Aaron Anderson had his best all-around game, not only of the season, but his ORU career. He stuffed the stat sheet finishing the game with a double-double. Anderson scored a career-high 20 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 4 assists.
Harris out indefinitely
Redshirt sophomore guard Jontray Harris will be out indefinitely after he suffered a fracture of his fifth metatarsal also known as a Jones fracture. Harris had played in all 18 contests this season prior to the injury. He was averaging 3.1 points off the bench.
The team will play the final game of the home stand, Saturday against Omaha. This will be the first meeting of the season between ORU and Omaha. Tip-off is set for 3 P.M. at the Mabee Center.