Valparaiso, Ind. - A 10-3 run over the final four minutes helped Oral Roberts defeat Valpo 75-68 in a Mid-Continent Conference game. Ron Howard led the Crusaders with a career-high 24 points, while Dan Oppland added 23.
The Golden Eagles featured a balanced attack, led by Caleb Green's 18 points and 13 rebounds. Ken Tutt scored 16 points and Larry Owens and Jonathan Bluitt added 12 each. The victory was ORU's first ever at Valpo in nine games.
Valpo (5-9, 1-1), which led most of the game, held a 61-57 advantage with 6:35 remaining. ORU (11-3, 2-0) went on a 6-0 run on two jumpers by Tutt and a layup by Green to take a 63-61 lead with 5:08 left.
Howard and Owens traded layups and Jarryd Loyd tied the score at 65-65 with 3:52 remaining. Two straight 16-foot jumpers by Andrew Meloy and another basket by Owens comprised another 6-0 run that gave the Golden Eagles a 71-67 lead at the 1:06 mark.
Howard, who scored 15 of his points in the second half, made a conventional three-point play to cut the deficit to 71-68 with 55 seconds left. Bluitt then drained two free throws with 30 seconds remaining to push ORU's lead to 73-68. Following a Valpo missed 3-pointer, Tutt made a breakaway layup with 12 seconds left to secure the ORU win.
In the first half, Valpo led by as many as eight on two occassions before ORU pulled within 31-30 with 3:20 remaining before halftime. Three baskets by Oppland in the final 2:27 ignited a 6-2 Valpo run as the Crusaders took a 37-32 lead at the intermission.
Foul trouble plagued Valpo as starting center Moussa Mbaye fouled out with 7:00 remaining and Oppland picked up his fourth foul with 15:02 left. Valpo was 11 of 13 at the free throw line, while ORU was 10 of 13.
ORU shot extremely well, making 52 percent from the field, but just 20 percent (3-15) from 3-point range. Valpo shot 40 percent overall, including 33 percent (7-21) from beyond the arc. Howard, Oppland and Seth Colclasure made two treys each.
The Golden Eagles outrebounded Valpo 40-30 as Mbaye topped the Crusaders with seven boards. Bluitt led ORU with eight assists, while Colclasure had team-bests of five assists and three steals for Valpo. ORU committed 13 turnovers to 12 for the Crusaders.
Valpo travels to Rochester Hills, Mich. to oppose Oakland on Monday at 6 p.m. CT. The game will be televised live on WYIN 56.