The ORU men’s basketball team started its final home stand with a 77-56 win over IUPUI Thursday night.
“I’m in here for a win,” said head coach Scott Sutton with a laugh. “Obviously, that was a much needed win. For whatever reasons we’ve struggled a bunch, but the thing I’m probably most proud of is this team never quits. They’re great kids. I’m happy for them and it’s just one game, I understand that, but if we can bottle this up and play like this for the next four games and in Sioux Falls, this team can make a run.”
Aaron Young drained a three 30 seconds into the game to give the Golden Eagles momentum. The teams were tied 5-5 with 17:57 remaining in the half, but ORU went on an 18-0 run, its longest of the season, to take the lead and never looked back.
“It feels good to get back in the winning column,” said Emegano. “We had a great week in practice. We’ve been working hard and I’m proud of my guys.”
ORU was a dominating force offensively, but Sutton was happy with the defensive effort, an area the team has struggled with all season.
“We made some shots early and got out to a good start, which gives you some confidence,” Sutton said. “But we kept getting stop after stop after stop even when we were struggling offensively and that’s necessary to sustain a lead. I thought our guys were very active on the defensive end.”
Obi Emegano earned his first career double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Albert Owens had 13 points and Brandon Conley had 12. Both players posted 7 boards.
The Golden Eagles were 51 percent from the field and 46 percent from downtown. ORU outrebounded the Jaguars 40-35, had six blocks and nine steals. They made 19 points off 13 IUPUI turnovers while only committing 10.
“They put 40 minutes of good basketball together. So hopefully they’ve figured it out and understand this is how we have to play,” said Sutton.
The Golden Eagles will face Western Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Mabee Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.