Saturday, December 4, 2004
Tulsa, Oral Roberts reverse roles in annual rivalry
TULSA, Okla. -- Tulsa has been the big dog for years in its
annual crosstown clash with Oral Roberts. Not this time.
The Golden Eagles come into Sunday's game at the Reynolds Center
as the preseason power, picked to finish first in their conference,
while the Golden Hurricane are expected to be an also-ran in their
Oral Roberts is living up to the expectations so far, winning
its first four games including two nail-biters on the road. Tulsa
(1-2) has struggled, dropping its opener to Wright State and losing
Still, Tulsa's Jarius Glenn believes his program still reigns in
the state's second largest city.
"I think Tulsa is probably -- I'm sure ORU won't agree -- but we
are the premiere basketball in this area, except for OU and OSU,"
Glenn said before the season.
Not that the Golden Eagles needed any bulletin board material to
motivate them. Players on both teams know each other well from the
pickup games they play together in the offseason.
Oral Roberts will be gunning for its second straight win over
Tulsa. The Golden Eagles won 87-81 last year at the Mabee Center.
Tulsa leads the series 27-13.
"I don't know if I'd say it's been reversed," Golden Eagles
coach Scott Sutton said. "It's still on their home court. They
have some very talented players."
Tulsa coach John Phillips is happy with his young team's effort,
but he's not pleased with the results. Tulsa has struggled with
turnovers in the early going.
Arkansas used full court pressure to force 27 Golden Hurricane
turnovers Tuesday, and Tulsa had 21 miscues in the 63-54 win over
Northwestern State on Nov. 21.
"Some of our turnovers came from guys that are juniors and
seniors," Phillips said. "You can't pinpoint it. You can't blame
it on just youth. You've got to look at every single player out
Oral Roberts has had a hard time scoring points, despite
returning stars Caleb Green and Ken Tutt and adding former Texas
Tech center Mickey Michalec and high-flying forward Larry Owens.
But tough defense has handed the Golden Eagles wins, including
victories on Tutt's last second shots on the road against Northern
Arizona and St. Louis.
"We have a chance to be a really good offensive team," Sutton
said. "The last couple of games we've struggled shooting the ball.
We're not executing as well as I'd like. The good news is, we'll