Saturday, February 26, 2005
Tulsa, Okla. - Oral Roberts outscored Valpo 44-25 in the second half and went on to defeat the Crusaders 79-65. Dan Oppland led Valpo (15-14, 10-5) with 22 points.
Jarryd Loyd was the other Crusader player in double figures with 10 points. Moussa Mbaye led Valpo with nine rebounds.
Ken Tutt led ORU (22-6, 12-3 Mid-Con) with 27 points, while Caleb Green added 16. The Golden Eagles clinched a share of the Mid-Continent Conference regular season title as a result of their win and UMKC's loss at Southern Utah.
Valpo played a productive first half, leading 40-35 at halftime. Bolstered by four, 3-point baskets, the Crusaders led by 10 points on two occassions - the last (29-19) with 7:51 remaining. Oppland topped Valpo with 11 first-half points, while Loyd added seven. The Crusaders made 52 percent of their field goal attempts (15-29) in the first 20 minutes.
ORU, which has never lost at home to Valpo, began the second half with a 13-2 run to take a 48-42 lead with 14:21 left. Green scored six and Tutt added four during the stretch.
Five free throws by Oppland, a 3-pointer by Loyd and Ron Howard's jumper gave Valpo a 52-51 advantage at the 11:10 mark.
The Golden Eagles responded with consecutive 3-pointers by Tutt and Luke Spencer-Gardner to help ORU regain a 57-52 lead with 10:04 left.
ORU and Valpo exchanged points over the next five minutes as the Crusaders trailed by four (66-62) with 5:06 remaining.
Jonathan Bluitt, who scored all nine of his points in the second half, ignited a game-clinching 13-3 run to finish the game. Bluitt scored six points during the decisive run.
ORU held a decided advantage on the boards, outrebounding Valpo 41-26, including 16-10 on the offensive glass. Mickey Michalec (eight points) led the Golden Eagles with 10 rebounds, while Larry Owens (seven points) added eight caroms.
Valpo finished shooting 41 percent overall (22-54) and 71 percent (15-21) from the free throw line. ORU shot 50 percent overall and 62 percent (16-26) from the charity stripe. The Golden Eagles made 7-of-16, 3-pointers, while Valpo made 6-of-17.
Valpo concludes the regular season on Monday at UMKC (15-11, 11-4) beginning at 7 p.m. A win would tie Valpo for second place and clinch the third seed in the Mid-Con Tournament. The game will be televised live on WYIN 56 and will also air on WVUR-FM (95.1), WEFM (95.5) and www.valpo.edu/athletics.