After 45 minutes of action and 11 lead changes, a pair of free throws by Dantrell Thomas proved the difference as Oral Roberts fell 73-72 to Nicholls in overtime Thursday night at Stopher Gym.
ORU (10-11, 4-4 SLC) suffered extended shooting droughts throughout the game, including an eight minute stretch in the second half and overtime, despite shooting 49 percent for the game.
A 60 percent free throw shooting team on the year, Nicholls (9-8, 6-2 SLC) hit 24 of their 32 attempts (75 percent), including the final two that proved the game-winners. The Colonels shot 45 percent from the field, including a 58 percent mark in the second half.
ORU was led by Shawn Glover's 26 points, while Korey Billbury added 11 points and seven rebounds. Bobby Word added 10 thanks to a pair of 3-pointers.
Nicholls got 28 points from Thomas and 23 from Jeremy Smith in the victory, dominating the paint with a 32-18 advantage around the basket.
"You can't make little mistakes on the road and expect to win," said Coach Scott Sutton. "We had the opportunity to win and we missed free throws and turned the ball over. It's very frustrating. This is three straight games that we've had a chance to win the game and didn't execute at the end."
Glover was unstoppable on the offensive end to start the game, connecting on his first seven shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, to put ORU up early. ORU started the game on a 9-2 run and never trailed in the half.
After a 3-point play by Shane Rillieux cut a nine point ORU lead to 26-20, Glover canned his second of the 3-pointers to push the lead back to nine. Drew Wilson hit his first free throw of the season to make it a 10-point game, 30-20, the largest ORU lead of the game.
It was at that point that ORU began its first extended drought from the field, going more than 10 minutes without a field goal.
During that time, Nicholls used a 10-2 run stretching from the end of the first half into the first four minutes of the second half to take its first lead of the game, 35-34 with 16:20 to play.
D.J. Jackson finally broke the string of bad luck from the field with a 3-pointer to give ORU a 39-38 lead, and with it started a string of made triples, with Word knocking down his next two looks from long range. The treys gave ORU a 45-40 lead over the Colonels with 12:47 to play.
A pair of Word free throws pushed it back to a seven point advantage for the Golden Eagles as the second half approached the midway point.
Still up 62-56 with five minutes to go in the game, ORU went cold again and did not get a field goal for the remainder of regulation. To make matters worse, ORU hit just three of eight attempts from the free throw line down the stretch, but Billbury hit one of two with 6.9 to play to tie the game at 65-65.
This time, the ORU field goal drought lasted a total of eight minutes before Billbury got a nice feed from Singleton for the layup to give ORU a 68-67 lead with 2:03 to play in overtime.
With 20 seconds to go, down by one, ORU had possession of the ball but turned it over to Thomas who was falling out of bounds and called a timeout to try to save possession for the Colonels. Nicholls was out of timeouts though, and the result was a technical foul that gave Glover two free throws. He hit both and gave ORU a 72-71 lead, but a foul on the other end gave Thomas a chance to put the Colonels back on top with 7.2 seconds to go.
Thomas hit both and Billbury raced down the court and had a look at the basket as time expired but he was unable to connect.
The Golden Eagles will travel to Lake Charles, La., on Saturday to face McNeese State at the Lake Charles Civic Center at 3 p.m.
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