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Bison can't overcome big deficit in men's basketball loss

TULSA, Okla. - North Dakota State turned up the pressure, going to a full-court press midway through the second half. It worked - just too late. A cold-shooting start and a 23-point Oral Roberts lead at one point were too much to overcome for the...

TULSA, Okla. – North Dakota State turned up the pressure, going to a full-court press midway through the second half. It worked – just too late.
A cold-shooting start and a 23-point Oral Roberts lead at one point were too much to overcome for the Bison, who suffered a 74-58 men’s basketball loss at the Mabee Center on Thursday night.
“Let’s give credit where credit is due; I thought Oral Roberts was really locked in and played with a great competitive spirit,” North Dakota State coach Dave Richman said. “They really took it to us. We were on our heels a little bit early, and it didn’t go away late.”
The loss all but guarantees North Dakota State the No. 2 seed at the Summit League tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D., on March 7. The Bison could pull even with South Dakota State in the league standings if the Jackrabbits lose at South Dakota on Saturday, but North Dakota State would come up on the short end of the tiebreaker.
A.J. Jacobson led North Dakota State with 15 points, but the Bison struggled to eclipse the 30-percent barrier in the shooting department. During that time, ORU – almost in an instant – accelerated to a 19-4 lead, and the Golden Eagles never relinquished it.
North Dakota State (20-9, 12-4 Summit League) used an 8-0 run to get within 13 in second half, but the Golden Eagles never let the Bison get within single digits. Not even instituting a full-court press with just under 11 minutes to go could catapult North Dakota State back into contention.
Not with Obi Emegano and Bobby Word having career nights for ORU. Emegano finished with a career-high 34 points on 12 of 17 shooting, and Word matched a career best with 20 points while filling a void for ORU.
“Obi is as good as there is in this league,” Richman said. “I thought Bobby was tremendous tonight, and even sometimes we’d get them late in the clock and they’d make a big play. That’s what well-coached teams do.”
On Wednesday, the Golden Eagles found out they would be without second-leading scorer Korey Billbury. The junior guard who was averaging 14.4 points per game was suspended for a “violation of team rules.”
ORU didn’t need Billbury against the Bison, who finished with their worst shooting performance – 36.4 percent (20 of 55) – during conference play this season. Even Lawrence Alexander, the Summit League’s soon-to-be most valuable player and North Dakota State’s leading scorer, couldn’t bring the Bison out of their funk.
Alexander finished with 11 points, his lowest total since only posting eight points against Alcorn State on Dec. 22.
“We’ve seen teams do that all year,” Richman said of ORU’s defensive emphasis on taking Alexander away. “We just have to make some adjustments and play out of it in different ways.”

NDSU: Kading 3-5 0-2 6, Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Dupree 2-10 3-5 7, Jacobson 5-13 4-5 15, Alexander 3-10 3-4 11, Werner 3-9 0-0 6, Ishola 1-3 1-2 3, Miller 3-5 3-4 10, Team: 20-55 14-22 58.
OR: Henderson 3-5 2-2 8, Young 1-3 0-0 2, Word 7-12 0-1 20, Emegano 12-17 7-11 34, Harris 0-2 0-0 0, Owens 3-4 0-0 6, Conley 0-3 1-2 1, Webber 1-2 0-0 3, Lee 0-0 0-0 0, Singleton 0-2 0-0 0, Team: 27-50 10-16 74.
Half: OR 41, NDSU 21. 3-point goals: NDSU 4-16 (Dupree 0-2, Jacobson 1-6, Alexander 2-6, Miller 1-2). OR 10-17 (Word 6-8, Emegano 3-4, Harris 0-2, Webber 1-2, Singleton 0-1.). Total fouls: NDSU 15, OR 17. Rebounds: NDSU 31 (3 tied with 5), OR 34 (Emegano 8). Assists: NDSU 9 (Jacobson 4), OR 14 (Young, Word 4). Steals: NDSU 5, OR 4. Turnovers: NDSU 9, OR 10. A: 3,908.

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