The ORU men’s basketball team is trying to win their final two regular season games in an effort to secure the fourth seed in the Southland Conference Tournament. The Golden Eagles will have to win the Southland Conference title if they hope to make the NCAA Tournament later this month.
As of Saturday, ORU is currently tied for fourth place in the Southland standings with Northwestern State. The Golden Eagles finish the regular season with two road games.
Stephen F. Austin will present the toughest test Thursday night. The Lumberjacks are on a 24-game winning streak and boast the best crowd attendance in the conference.
ORU faces defending champion Northwestern State Saturday. The Demons present matchup troubles for ORU in the post. The Golden Eagles lost to both teams at home this season by a combined seven points.
“We have to close out,” said guard Korey Billbury. “We’ll take care of business and then get ready for Katy.”
ORU has seen its share of adversity this season. Despite what Head Coach Scott Sutton calls one of the “deepest teams” ORU has seen in many seasons, the Golden Eagles have had trouble putting together a full 40 minutes of basketball.
In January, the team looked like a non-contender after losing four straight conference games.
“I was disappointed we weren’t able to finish some of those games, but even then, I’ve always liked this team,” Sutton said.
Since then, ORU has turned things around, winning all but one game that ended in a thrilling overtime game against Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
The Golden Eagles most recent win came in the last home game of the season defeating the possible number three seed, Sam Houston State.
“I thought we finally stepped up and finished the game tonight, whereas we struggled with that earlier in the year,” Sutton said.
Shawn Glover and Korey Billbury have been the most consistent players on the team throughout the season. Billbury in particular has been playing at an elevated level scoring a career high 29 point against Sam Houston State, 24 of which came in the second half.
“He’s playing at a high level,” Sutton said. “He has great confidence, and he deserves to be on either first team or second team all-conference.”
Despite injuries and early season struggles, the Golden Eagles are very confident going into post-season play.
“A lot of the times this year, we beat ourselves,” said DJ Jackson. “Heading down to Katy you never know what can happen. I’ll tell you what though, we are getting better.”
For coverage of last night’s game against Stephen F. Austin, go to oruoracle.com.