The ORU men’s basketball team ran away with their first win of the season on homecoming night at the Mabee Center. The Golden Eagles defeated the Southwestern College Moundbuilders 79-62. Redshirt-junior forward Emmanuel Nzekwezi finished the night with a double-double for ORU scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
The Golden Eagles started the game slow. Turnovers and missed shots lead to the Moundbuilders leading for much of the first half. It was not until the 10 minutes left in the half where ORU tied the game.
With four minutes to go in the first half, ORU got its first lead of the game with a score of 29-26. As the rest of the half concluded, ORU’s offense got the momentum it needed and never looked back. Freshman Carlos Jurgens knocked down a couple threes during the momentum shift which made the Southwestern defense forget Nzekwezi under the basket on multiple possessions.
“They made seven of their first 11, and we worked getting stops,” said ORU Head Coach Paul Mills. “I thought getting stops allowed us to get opportunities to run and it opened some threes up specifically late.”
Despite the late Golden Eagle momentum, Moundbuilder senior guard Cameron Hunt led all scorers with 23 points in the first half. He finished the night with 40 and his diverse game of driving ability and three point shots gave the ORU defense a tall task all night.
The Golden Eagles extended the margin to 12, leading 42-30 at the half.
As the second half started, the ORU offense resumed the offensive firepower from the previous period. The Golden Eagles continued to get high percentage shots epitomized by a fast break dunk from Nzekwezi.
“He’s going to be bigger than most guys,” Mills said. “I think he’s more suited on the interior with his versatility and occasionally on the perimeter.”
Around five minutes to go in the game, ORU’s lead extended all the way to 19. Once the Southwestern offense got the Golden Eagle lead down to 13, blocked shots and defensive stops gave ORU extra possessions.
The Moundbuilders started running a full-court with less than five minutes in the game, but it was not enough to try and mount a comeback.
ORU’s next game will be on the road at TCU on Nov. 11, and they will return home to the Mabee Center for a matchup against California Baptist on Nov. 13 at 7:00 p.m.