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New Mexico vs Oral Roberts

Upset-minded Oral Roberts gives No. 13 New Mexico first loss

CBSSports.com wire reports
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TULSA, Okla. -- Add another to Oral Roberts' growing list of upsets.

The same Golden Eagles who burst onto the national scene by beating No. 3 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse in November 2006 are at it again.

Michael Craion had 18 points and 13 rebounds, Dominique Morrison scored 17 points and Oral Roberts handed No. 13 New Mexico its first loss of the season, 75-66 on Wednesday night.

"I bet a lot of people didn't expect for us to come out there and play as hard as we did, to win the game," Morrison said.

Except those who have been following the tiny school from the Summit League.

Already with wins over Missouri and Stanford this season, ORU took an early 13-point lead but then had to make another charge after the Lobos (12-1) rallied to take the lead in the second half.

Warren Niles hit a jumper from the right side to give the Golden Eagles (7-6) a 59-58 lead with 6:32 to play and ignited a 10-0 run. Kevin Ford pushed the lead to nine with a two-handed jam off a touch pass from Craion that sealed the victory.

"This is why you play," Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton said. "I tell the guys this is why you do all the conditioning in the fall, lift all the weights and the hours and hours of practices, to have an opportunity like this. To play against a ranked team. a great team in my opinion, if they're not excited about playing, there's something wrong with them."

The Lobos came in trying to win their first 13 games in a season for only the second time in school history, but ran into an Oral Roberts team with a penchant for pulling upsets. The Golden Eagles were hosting a Top 25 team for the first time since 1996 and were playing at the Mabee Center for the first time since a memorial for the school's namesake and founder was held at the arena two days earlier.

Oral Roberts, who died last week at age 91, was honored in the invocation and players wore black, circular patches with his initials on their jerseys.

"I thought this was a difficult situation for our guys to handle for a lot of reasons," Lobos coach Steve Alford said. "You've won 12 straight, now you're ranked [13th] in the country. Things have kind of just gone according to plan, and sometimes you need that plan to take a hit to see what you're made of. That's what I'm anxious to see."

Phillip McDonald and Dairese Gary had 13 points each for New Mexico, which had off nights from leading scorers Darington Hobson and Roman Martinez. Hobson scored 11 points on 5 of 14 shooting and Martinez had four points while making only 1 of 9 shots. Both had been averaging just under 17 points.

New Mexico ended up becoming the highest-ranked opponent to lose at Oral Roberts. Sutton considered it the biggest home victory of his 11 seasons as ORU's coach, and behind only the team's three conference titles that sent them to the NCAA tournament three of the past four years and that Kansas win.

The game was set up after Sutton agreed to put his team through a brutal non-conference stretch last season to get return games at the Mabee Center against Missouri and New Mexico this season -- and both would become signature wins for the program.

Only a handful of students ran onto the court to celebrate, perhaps because the upsets aren't so unexpected anymore.

"We haven't had these opportunities very often -- most of the time on the road against these teams or at the very best, on a neutral site," Sutton said. "To have two of them at home, we had to sacrifice some things last year to get this schedule. Obviously, it's paid off so far."

Oral Roberts, which has lost three players -- including two point guards -- to season-ending injuries, took advantage of a brief absence by Hobson to build on its lead down the stretch. While a trainer attended to a cut on Hobson's left arm, Ken Holdman nailed a 3-pointer and Ford hit a hook shot from the right block to make it 64-58. But even after Hobson returned, the Lobos couldn't make the charge they needed.

New Mexico, which had been one of only two teams in the nation averaging less than 10 turnovers, had 13 against Oral Roberts.

"We're just not playing as sharp as we have been. Just some little things, and it's a very young basketball team," Alford said. "And now I'm interested to see how we handle a loss.

"They've done a heck of a job getting this thing to 12-1 before Christmas, and I told them that in the locker room. We've done a lot of really good things and it's the start of a very good season, but we've got to get back to work."

Holdman finished with 13 points and Niles had 10 for the Golden Eagles, who built a 21-8 lead and then answered a run of seven consecutive Lobos points with 11 in a row of their own to lead 38-27 at halftime.

Hobson had six points in a 17-5 run for New Mexico, and his layup gave the Lobos their first lead at 46-45 with 12:20 remaining.

Then Oral Roberts closed out the game, just as it has against so many other marquee programs in recent years.

That left only one problem for Sutton, who would like to avoid another brutal stretch like last season.

"It's going to make it harder and harder to get guys in here to play us," Sutton said. "They may not want to come back."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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ORU's Kevin Ford enjoys another marquee win for a team that's already beaten Stanford and Missouri.  (AP)
ORU's Kevin Ford enjoys another marquee win for a team that's already beaten Stanford and Missouri. (AP)
Scoreboard
New Mexico #13 (12-1)273966
Oral Roberts (7-6) «383775
NM:Dairese Gary 13 Pts
NM:Roman Martinez 7 Reb
NM:Dairese Gary 6 Ast
ORAL:Michael Craion 18 Pts
ORAL:Michael Craion 13 Reb
ORAL:Michael Craion 7 Ast

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Oral RobertsNew Mexico
ORAL
Michael Craion
NM
Dairese Gary
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
181371346
New Mexico Lobos
R. Martinez, F291-91-37144
D. Gary, G284-125-546313
D. Hobson, G-F285-140-041211
A. Hardeman, F242-32-45036
P. McDonald, G244-52-220413
N. Garth, G190-32-21102
W. Brown, F163-50-04026
J. Fenton, G150-22-22222
C. Dennis, G122-43-42037
C. Adams, G51-20-00032
K. Nelson, GDid Not Play
M. Staff, FDid Not Play
Totals 22-5917-2231112666
 37.3%77.3% 
Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
D. Morrison, F384-107-1044317
M. Craion, F365-88-12137418
K. Holdman, G334-72-253213
K. Stokes, G-F302-60-13015
K. Ford, F-C243-71-35037
W. Niles, G233-73-421210
D. Bell-Holter, F-C152-31-32025
M. Fletcher, G10-10-00010
S. Jenkins, GDid Not Play
M. Manghum, GDid Not Play
H. McClintock, GDid Not Play
J. Moore, GDid Not Play
T. Morton, FDid Not Play
J. Nasarre, F-CDid Not Play
R. Pearson, GDid Not Play
B. Rogers, GDid Not Play
Totals 23-4922-3534151975
 46.9%62.9% 
Mountain West
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Boise St.0-03-036
Utah St.0-03-075
Nevada0-02-0269
San Diego St0-02-011
UNLV0-02-0127
Wyoming0-02-0269
Colorado St.0-01-0206
Air Force0-02-1261
New Mexico0-02-1206
San Jose St.0-01-2269
Fresno St.0-00-1127

Summit League
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
IPFW0-02-0269
Denver0-01-0206
Nebraska Omaha0-01-1227
Oral Roberts0-01-183
IUPUI0-01-2223
No. Dak. St.0-00-2127
S. Dak. St.0-00-2298
South Dakota0-00-2206
Western Ill.0-00-2321
 
Other games
HARV 70 Final
GU 86
LB St 73 Final
Kentucky 86
Delaware 63 Final
NOVA 97
NCAT 78 Final
Tenn 99
Ole Miss 66 Final
W Virg 76