March 7, 2006
TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Ken Tutt scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and Larry Owens added a career-high 24 points as Oral Roberts earned its first NCAA tournament berth in 22 years with an 85-72 win against Chicago State in the Mid-Continent Conference title game Tuesday night.
The top-seeded Golden Eagles (21-11), who lost a heartbreaker in their home city in last year's Mid-Con title game, pushed ahead with an 18-0 run early in the second half.
Tutt hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer from the left wing to start the run and Owens got an already-standing student section fired up in the south stands with a right-handed dunk right in front of them. Green capped the burst with a layup in transition that extended the lead to 62-44.
Chicago State (11-19) tried to fight back with a pressing, man-to-man defense but that simply led to open shots for the Golden Eagles once they got into the frontcourt.
Oral Roberts' lead reached 70-48 after two free throws by Green, who has attempted and made more foul shots than any player in the nation. Chicago State began cutting into the deficit with 3 minutes left, but the final margin was as close as it got.
Eric Fowlkes dribbled out the final seconds before tossing the ball into the air and off the center-court scoreboard. Fans stormed the court and knocked over several Oral Roberts players in the process.
Green finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for his 15th double-double and his 28th straight game with double-figure scoring.
David Holstson hit five 3-pointers and led Chicago State with 21 points. Michael Henderson added 13 points while Royce Parran, averaging a team-high 18.4 points, finished with eight after being held scoreless after halftime.
The Cougars stayed with Oral Roberts throughout the first half by denying Green, the two-time conference player of the year, and holding him without a field goal try until he spun against a double-team and made a right-handed hook shot with 10:03 left in the first half.
That started a shooting spree in which each team made four straight field goals, including three 3-pointers for Oral Roberts and two 3s for Chicago State.
The Cougars led 34-33 after a first half reminiscent of the Golden Eagles' loss to Oakland, Mich., in last year's championship. In that game, Oakland's Pierre Dukes hit an off-balanced 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left to bring a shocking end Oral Roberts' NCAA tournament hopes.
In only his seventh game back from an injury, Tutt made sure that couldn't happen again.
He scored 10 of the Golden Eagles' first 14 points of the second half in his second scoring showcase since missing 10 games with a broken bone in his right foot.
Tutt came off the bench in his first five games after returning but got back in the starting lineup after scoring 29 against Western Illinois in the Mid-Con quarterfinals.