Tuesday , Mar , 06 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Oral Roberts wins MCC title, automatic bid

Tulsa, OK (Sports Network) – Ken Tutt hit the go-ahead jumper with 31 seconds
left to help Oral Roberts secure its second straight trip to the NCAA
Tournament with a 71-67 win over Oakland for the Mid-Continent Conference
Tournament title.

Tutt ended with 20 points as the Golden Eagles (23-10) rallied from an 11-
point halftime deficit to secure the conference’s automatic berth for a second
straight year. Caleb Green had a game-high 28 points and nine boards for Oral
Roberts, which heads into the NCAA Tournament with three straight wins and
victories in 17 of its last 20 outings.

Vova Severovas had 22 points and seven boards for the second-seeded Grizzlies
(19-14), who are likely headed to the NIT. Erik Kangas added 20 points, all in
the first half, for Oakland, which was seeking its second tourney title in
three years.

After using a 17-3 run to start the second half, Oral Roberts later found
itself ahead 67-61 following a Tutt layup with 4:12 left.

The Grizzlies, though, refused to go away quietly and scored the next six
points to tie the contest. Shawn Hopes hit 1-of-2 free throws with just under
a minute to play to tie the contest at 67.

After a time out, Tutt found himself with the ball at the top of the key. He
broke down his defender off the dribble, moving to the right and banking the
short jumper home for the lead with 31 ticks remaining.

“We tried to run a play at first and it kind of broke down,” said Tutt of the
go-ahead shot. “I ended up having the ball at the top of the key. Caleb was
setting up a high ball screen and I kind of faked off of that. The lane opened
up and just went up for the shot. I knew it was going in the whole time.”

Kangas missed a three-pointer with 18 seconds left and the rebound went off an
Oakland player. After not being able to come up with a steal on the inbounds,
Adam Liberty was fouled and hit both from the line with 11 seconds left to
secure the win.

Liberty ended with just six points.

Trailing 26-24 late in the first half, Kangas spearheaded a 21-8 run to end
the half by hitting four straight three-pointers for Oakland. Kangas had 12
points during the surge, which was ended by a Brandon Cassise trey for a 45-34
lead at the break.

Kangas hit six three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes of play, scoring 20
total points in the half.

Oral Roberts responded, though, starting the second half with a 17-3 surge to
forge ahead. Tutt scored the first five points of the surge and Green, who
had four points, ended it with a jumper for a 51-50 lead with just over six
minutes elapsed.

“The second half, I thought our guys did a tremendous job of coming out with
great energy,” said ORU head coach Scott Sutton. “Ken (Tutt) came out and hit
some big shots early in the half and got us going. Before you knew it we were
right back in the game. From there on it was a battle, then it was a matter of
who was going to make the most plays down the stretch.”

Oakland hit 7-of-10 three-pointers in the first half, but went 0-for-8 in the

Hopes ended with 12 points.

Game Notes

Valpo has dominated this conference, with a record eight tournament titles.
ORU is now all alone in second in tourney titles with two…This is the
first time a team has successfully defended its Mid-Con title since Valpo won
six straight ending in 2000…ORU’s women’s team also won the conference
tourney title earlier in the day…Green became the Mid-Con’s all-time leading
scorer…This was Oral Roberts’ third straight appearance in the Mid-Con
Championship game…Sutton is 2-1 in Mid-Con title games…Shawn King had
two points, nine boards and five blocks for ORU.