TULSA, Okla. (AP) Ken Tutt scored 22 points, including two key free throws with 1:06 left, to lead Oral Roberts past Southern Utah 73-67 in the Mid-Continent Conference opener for both teams on Tuesday.
Caleb Green added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Golden Eagles (10-3, 1-0 Mid-Con). Rand Janes led the Thunderbirds with 15 points and Tim Gainey scored 14 for the Thunderbirds (7-5, 0-1).
Tutt, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, scored seven consecutive points midway through the second half to boost ORU's lead to 62-49. After the teams traded baskets, the Thunderbirds scored the next eight points to cut their deficit to 64-59.
Tutt, who had 14 points in the second half, answered with his fourth 3-pointer of the game to snap ORU's five-minute scoring drought. But the Thunderbirds went on another 8-0 run, capped by Curtis Lincoln's trey that tied the game 67-67 with 1:27 remaining in the game.
Tutt was fouled on ORU's ensuing possession and made both free throws to put ORU ahead 69-67. After the Thunderbirds lost possession on a foul, Tutt sank a 16-foot jumper that made it 71-67 with 21 seconds left. Green then blocked a shot that led to Moses Ehambe's clinching layup with eight seconds remaining.
ORU outrebounded Southern Utah 40-20, but committed 20 turnovers compared to 13 for the Thunderbirds. The Golden Eagles were 10-of-13 on free throws and the Thunderbirds were 9-of-17. Southern Utah was 8-of-15 on 3-pointers and ORU was 5-of-15. ORU's Jonathan Bluitt had a game-high 10 assists.
The Golden Eagles took a 9-4 lead in the game's first five minutes, but the Thunderbirds tied the game at 15-15 midway through the half. Esteban Bonzano's basket and 3-pointer gave Southern Utah a 28-24 lead.
ORU regained the lead, 33-32, on Matt Gastel's basket at 1:36. Tutt's trey just before time expired gave ORU a 38-34 advantage at halftime.