ORU Wins Opening Round

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Jordan Pyle scored a career-high 26 points as Oral Roberts rolled to a 97-81 victory over Southern Utah on Saturday in the opening round of the Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The Golden Eagles, who improved to 22-8 overall this season and won their 13th game in the last 14 contests, scored the second-most points in a Summit League Tournament contest.

Pyle, a sophomore from Mustang, Okla., went 11-of-16 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line, while also pulling down a team-high seven rebounds. Pyle tallied her 500th career point with the opening basket.

Four other Golden Eagles scored in double figures, led by Kevi Luper’s 18-point performance. Luper recorded an 8-of-9 performance from the charity stripe, while swiping four steals and dishing out three assists.  Fellow freshman Jaci Bigham (McAlester, Okla.) recorded 11 points to go with six assists and two blocks. Bigham also scored her 500th point of her career at the 4:19 mark of the first half.  Senior Janae Voelker (Newton, Kan.) chipped in 10 points with six assists and six rebounds, while Savanna Buck (Pinehurst, Texas) also added 10 points to go with three steals.

The Golden Eagles trailed Southern Utah (7-23) by a score of 6-2 early before mounting a 16-3 run over 5:21 to push the lead to nine points.  After the Thunderbirds cut ORU’s double-digit margin down to eight points at the 5:44 mark, the Golden Eagles put together a 10-0 run over two minutes for their biggest lead of the half of 18 points. Bigham closed out the half with a layup at the buzzer to send ORU to the break with a 15-point advantage.

ORU opened the second half of play on a 21-6 run to jump out to its biggest lead of the game at 30 points.  The Golden Eagles forced 28 turnovers and committed just 13, while losing the rebound battle by a 53-28 margin.  ORU shot 47 percent (32-of-68) from the field, 29 percent (7-of-24) from 3-point range and 77 percent (26-of-34) from the free-throw line.

The Golden Eagles will play the winner of the UMKC vs. North Dakota State game on Monday at noon.