Oral Roberts (3-1) vs. Charlotte (4-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 23, 1:30 a.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sullivan Arena (8,700) -- Anchorage, Alaska. Television: None. Home Record: Oral Roberts 1-0, Charlotte 3-0. Away Record: Oral Roberts 1-1, Charlotte 0-0. Neutral Record: Oral Roberts 0-1, Charlotte 0-0. Conference Record: Oral Roberts 0-0, Charlotte 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: In the second semifinal of the day, the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles will battle the Charlotte 49ers in the Great Alaska Shootout at Sullivan Arena.
Oral Roberts overcame a slow start to get past Loyola Marymount (75-68) in the first round of the tournament. The win was the third straight for the Golden Eagles who also took down Division II foe St. Gregory's (90-41) and Pacific (69-67) during the early season win streak. The lone loss came in the season opener on the road against UTEP (69-49).
For Charlotte, its road led through a matchup with Texas State, which the 49ers were victorious in (73-64). The 49ers have gotten off to a solid start with wins in each of their first four games although those first four opponents have a combined record of 6-11.
Both teams will await the results of the rest of Friday's action to determine who they play on the final day of the tournament.
This will mark the first time these two squads have ever been matched up.
After trailing for most of the first half Oral Roberts took its first lead of the game, 28-27, on a pair of free throws from Warren Niles at the 1:11 mark in the first half. From there the Eagles would not trail again, leading by as many as 18 points in the second half. Oral Roberts connected on 52.0 percent of its field goals in the game including 64.0 percent in the final 20 minutes. Niles was spectacular in a duel with Loyola Marymount's Anthony Ireland, as his 33 points topped Ireland's 30.
During its three-game winning streak, Oral Roberts has really shot the ball well, connecting on better than 50.0 percent of its field goal attempts in each contest, On the year the Eagles are shooting just under 50 percent (49.3) including an impressive 47.4 percent from beyond the arc. Turnovers have been a bit of an issue with the team coughing the ball up at a rate of 16 per game. On the other end of the floor, the Eagles are surrendering 60 points per game on 41.9 percent shooting. Niles putting up huge offensive numbers is nothing new as he has netted 26.8 per game this season. Niles is a gunner who is not afraid to shoot from anywhere on the floor which thus far has been an asset as he has connected on 18-of-26 attempts from 3-point range. Junior forward Steven Roundtree (10.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg) has played better of late, scoring in double figures in each of the past two games after failing to do so in the previous two.
The 49ers led by double digits midway through the second half against Texas State but were unable to put the game away as then Bobcats came back to take a 64-62 lead with just over five minutes left. Charlotte recovered though and ended the game on an 11-0 run to secure the victory. Charlotte shot 45.0 percent from the floor in the game including a 6-of-17 effort from beyond the arc. The two team's combined for 42 turnovers, of which the 49ers were guilty of 22. Of four players that scored in double figures Chris Braswell was the leader with 18 points.
Charlotte could have made it a lot easier for itself in the first round if it had been more successful from the free-throw line. The 49ers connected on just 13-of-28 shots from the charity stripe and are hitting on only 63.7 percent overall. The 49ers efforts from beyond the arc (18.9 3p percentage) have also left a lot to be desired. One area the 49ers have had no trouble is on the boards here they average 41 a contest. Braswell was a regular in the starting lineup last season but has yet to earn a start this season. That hasn't stopped the senior forward from leading the team in scoring (16.0 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg) though, which are both improvements on his season totals of last season. Demario Mayfield (12.0 ppg) is another player scoring at a high rate off the bench. Terrence Williams (10.2 ppg) is the top scorers among the starting five.
The 49ers cannot afford another let down like they had against Texas State. With Oral Roberts' ability to knock down shots it will be imperative for Charlotte to get consistent scoring, meaning Braswell should see even more time on the court.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Charlotte 70, Oral Roberts 68
11/23 10:52:23 ET