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February 19, 2005Springfield, Mo. -- Caleb Green tied his career-high with 33 points to lead ORU to a convincing 86-76 win at Southwest Missouri State in a game matching two teams in the ESPN Bracket Buster pool Saturday at the Hammons Student Center.
ORU (21-5) also got 12 points and 11 rebounds off the bench from Larry Owens, his fifth double-double of the season. Jonathan Bluitt and Luke Spencer-Gardner rounded out the Golden Eagles' double-figure scorers with 11 points each, with Spencer-Gardner contributing a game-high nine assists and three steals.
SMS (14-10), coached by former ORU head coach Barry Hinson, was led by Tamarr Maclin's 24 points and 19 rebounds. The Bears whittled ORU's 64-54 lead down to two on a jumper by Blake Ahearn with 7:51 to play.
However, Owens answered with a jumper of his own the next trip down the floor, igniting ORU on an 11-2 run over the next 2:45. Bluitt drained a big 3-pointer with 5:23 to go and Green followed with the last of his six points during the run to push the Golden Eagles' lead back to double-figures at 75-64 with 4:44 to go.
SMS managed to cut ORU's lead to six twice in the final two minutes, the last on Anthony Shavies' trey with 1:22 to make it 80-74.
But Spencer-Gardner made 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute and Bluitt added another with 23 seconds left to provide the final margin.
Green scored 21 of his 33 points in the first half, helping ORU take a 49-40 lead at the break. The 6-7 sophomore forward from Tulsa finished the night 13-of-18 from the field and 7-of-10 from the free throw line.
ORU shot 51.8 pct. (29-56) from the field, 36.8 pct. (7-19) from 3-point range and 72.4 pct. (21-29) from the charity stripe for the game. SMS countered with a 49.2 pct. (29-59) effort from the field, 25.0 pct. (2-8) showing from 3-point land, and a 72.7 pct. (16-22) effort from the free throw line in dropping its second straight.
The win, ORU's sixth straight and 10th in the past 11 games, gave the Golden Eagles 21 wins through 26 games for the first time since the 1976-77 squad also matched that record. It was also ORU's 11th win away from home this season, which ties the record set by the school's inaugural NCAA Division I team during the 1971-72 season.
ORU will attempt to break that record and maintain its hold on first place in the Mid-Continent Conference when the Golden Eagles conclude a three-game road span at UMKC Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. The Kangaroos are a half-game back of ORU in the league standings and handed the Golden Eagles' their last loss, an 88-74 decision in Tulsa back on Jan. 29.