At the start of their season, and on Homecoming night the Oral Roberts Men’s basketball team defeated the Avila University Eagles in front of the home crowd of 2,521 fans. The Golden Eagles won the game 86-72 under the new Head Coach Paul Mills, at home in the Mabee Center.
“There were a lot of positives,[like] the 20 offensive rebounds [and] being able to have 25 points off of those 20 offensive rebounds, [which] is good,” said Coach Paul Mills. “I was a little disappointed in our ability to guard the three-point line but overall it was a good learning experience and we need to do better than 55 percent at the free throw line, but that will be something we will address at practice.”
The Golden Eagles led Avila the entire game, capitalizing on turnovers and easy layups that would stretch their lead even further.
“I thought we did a really good job of just staying locked in and competing the whole game,” said senior forward Albert Owens. ”I think if we can keep playing without drop-offs like that, I think we have a chance to be really good. We’re just trying to make one run at it.”
Owens led the night in overall points with 23, also adding on nine rebounds and two blocks. Freshman guard R.J. Fuqua also poured in 10 points, four assists and nine steals during his debut night with the Golden Eagles.
“My team needs me to play good defense and that’s what I go out there and do,” said Fuqua. “ We played okay on defense, we can get a lot better.”
The Golden Eagles out-rebounded the opposing team 51-34 which played a huge factor in the success of the Homecoming victory.
“R.J. is a bulldog, his care factor is through the roof, he genuinely cares about what you are telling him,” said Mills. “He wants to do it full throttle. I had no idea he had 9 steals, which tied a record here at ORU. Not bad for a kid’s first game.”
The Golden Eagles will now prepare for a non-conference schedule that will run through Thanksgiving and Christmas break. They begin their stretch on Monday, Nov. 20 against The University of Tulsa at the Reynolds center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“We all want to work hard for Coach Mills, and [want to] make sure his first year here is successful,” said Owens. “It felt really good to get a win for him and do everything he asks us to do to the best of our abilities.”