ORU won their preseason opener over Northwood by a final score of 98-76 Saturday at the Mabee Center.
Shawn Glover was in mid-season form with 26 points on 8-10 shooting and 13 rebounds as he led the Golden Eagles in almost every statistical category.
“Shawn’s a prolific scorer. He’s played at as high of a level through the first month of practice and tonight that I’ve seen in a long time,” said Head Coach Scott Sutton. “If he can rebound like that and get to the line like he did tonight he’s going to score a ton of points.”
Northwood kept the game close by shooting 46 percent from three-point range through the first 16 minutes of the first half. The ability to get to the free-throw line proved to be the difference as ORU hit 9-11 free throws over the last 5:00 of the first half.
The Golden Eagles took the floor to start the second half leading 51-33. Despite turning the ball over 12 times in the second half, ORU refused to allow Northwood to come within 10 points of the lead.
“I think that’s just first game jitters. We were excited to play,” said Shawn Glover. “We had a few hustle turnovers, but I think those will go away after the first couple games. People will settle down, find their identity and just start to play basketball.”
Everyone on the court was trying to find their identity on the defensive side of the floor, due to a new rule disallowing players to put their hands on the player they are defending; also known as hand-checking.
“It’s a big rule change, and it’s hard to adjust to,” said redshirt sophomore Obi Emegano. “We’re just going to have to get more games under our belt and get more comfortable with the rules where we’re able to actually play with them.”
All but four players on the ORU roster saw double-digit minutes of playing time as Coach Sutton attempted to figure out the rotation of players he will use going into the regular season.
“I was glad we got to play everybody. I thought everybody did some good things, but it’s hard to play this way when you’re substituting guys so freely like we did tonight,” Sutton said. “Certainly we will not do that a week from tonight when we play at Tulsa. We’ll get our rotation down to nine, maybe 10 players.”
True Freshmen Bobby Word (9pts/2rebs/1ast) and Dederick Lee (7pts/4rebs/4asts) made a strong case to make the rotation along with tonight’s starters D.J. Jackson, Korey Billbury and Obi Emegano.
“It’s going to be tough,” said Sutton. “This is the deepest team we’ve had. They get a chance to audition every single day in practice for minutes. I think now that we’ve started playing games maybe that will register a little bit better that ‘hey I’ve got to show up every day and work hard and prove that I’m the guy that deserves the minutes.’”