Trailing by as many as 18 points early in the second half and by 11 with 4:26 to play, Oral Roberts rallied to force overtime and eventually pulled out a 69-63 Summit League win over UMKC, Saturday at Mabee Center.
With UMKC (10-8, 3-4) leading 56-54 with :0.7 seconds remaining, Roderick Pearson (Kansas City, Mo.) threw a full-court pass to Damen Bell-Holter (Hydaburg, Alaska) just to the right of the basket.
Bell-Holter, who was double-teamed, caught the pass, turned to his left and scored just before the final buzzer sounded. The officials reviewed the play on television monitors and confirmed the basket, seconding the game to overtime. ORU quickly controlled play during the extra period, eventually leading by as much as 67-58 with 13 seconds left.
How the Golden Eagles (8-12 overall, 5-3 Summit) won was nothing short of miraculous. After a dreadful first half in which they shot just 19 percent (4-21) and trailed 30-17 at halftime, the Golden Eagles found themselves down by 18, 35-17, with 18:14 to go.
ORU slowly pecked away but still trailed 53-42 with 4:26 left. Back-to-back three-pointers by Warren Niles (Cincinnati, Ohio) made it 53-48 with 2:15 to go. A pair of Dominique Morrison (Kansas City, Mo.) free throws pulled ORU to within 53-52 and, after Spencer Johnson made 1-of-2 freebies with 1:26 to play, Bell-Holter eventually tied the game at 54 with a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left.
UMKC’s Jay Cousinard then scored on a driving layup for a 56-54 lead, setting up the Pearson-to-Bell-Holter connection.
The Golden Eagles rebounded from a difficult first half to shoot just under 40 percent for the game, thanks in part to combined 53 percent shooting in the second half and overtime. ORU was 22-of-24 from the free throw line.
UMKC shot 41 percent for the game and was just 8-for-31 on three-pointers. The Kangaroos made just 7-of-11 free throws.
Niles led ORU with 18 points, while Steven Roundtree (Jacksonville, Fla.) had 17 and seven rebounds.
Morrison, playing in his first game since undergoing knee surgery on Jan. 4, finished with 15 points on the strength of 10-of-10 shooting at the line. Bell-Holter capped his night with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Cousinard led all scorers with 20 points for UMKC.