The ORU Men’s basketball team defeated Western Illinois 77-67 Thursday night in the Mabee Center.
ORU built a comfortable lead against the Leathernecks thanks in part to Korey Billbury’s 13 first half points. ORU opened the game with a 12-2 lead, but struggled late to finish off their opponent.
Western Illinois turned the ball over ten times in the first half. They shot 31 percent in the first half compared to ORU’s 51 percent. With the help of 14 bench points, Western Illinois was able to stay in the game and go into the half trailing only 36-25.
ORU started to pull away in the second half when they stretched the lead to 58-42 with 8:36 left to play. The Leathernecks got the lead down to 63-58 with four minutes to play, aided by 15 second half points from guard J.C. Fuller. That was the closest they would get.
Starting point guard Aaron Young dished out a career high eight assists without a single turnover.
The Golden Eagles turned the ball over 14 times as a team. Coach Scott Sutton said his team must do a better job at consistently finishing games when they have a chance to put teams away.
“I didn’t think we played with the type of energy or intelligence that we need to play with. I’m glad we won but that game should never have been a ballgame,” Sutton said. “I give a lot of credit to Western because their kids fought and battled and made some plays.”
ORU was able to hold the WIU’s bench scoreless in the second half while their bench chipped in 9 points.
Korey Billbury led all scorers with 20 points. Denell Henderson added 14 points and 8 rebounds for the Golden Eagles.
J.C. Fuller led Western Illinois with 18 points and Jalen Chapman chipped in 13. Obi Emegano had 19 points but did not finish the game due to cramps.
The win puts the Golden Eagles at 14-11 on the year and 7-4 in the Summit League. ORU has less than 48 hours before taking on South Dakota Saturday night at the Mabee Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.