FT. WAYNE, Ind. – Junior Kevi Luper became Oral Roberts University's career scoring leader and hit the winning free throws with 11.4 second left as the Golden Eagles won an overtime thriller over IPFW, 62-61, Saturday at the Gates Sports Center.
Luper set ORU's all-time scoring record with 16:56 left in the second half. The Adair native hit a pull-up jumper from the left baseline to pass Vivian Herron's record of 2,192 points.
Luper also passed Kim Ogden for the ORU career steals lead, coming away with five thefts. She now has 375 steals for her career.
The two-time Summit League Player of the Year finished with 22 points to lead all players.
Following Luper's winning free throws, IPFW had a chance to win the game, but Rachel Mauk missed a three-pointer with five seconds left. ORU's Savanna Buck tapped the rebound toward the mid-court stripe, and Jaci Bigham collected possession to seal the victory.
The Mastodons had led by as many as nine points in the second half, but ORU forced overtime with an 11-2 regulation-closing run.
Bernadett Balla added 12 points for ORU (18-9, 12-4 Summit League).
Senior Georgia Jones also had a milestone day. The England native scored nine points and became the 19th player in ORU history to top 1,000 career points.
ORU shot just 38.9% in the game, but IPFW (8-18, 5-10 Summit League) shot at just a 30.5% clip.
Mauk led the Mastodons with 15 points. All-Summit League performer Stephanie Rosado added 12 points but was just 4-for-20 from the floor.
Sarah Haluska added a double-double for IPFW, with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
ORU led by as many as five points in the first half, taking a 25-20 edge on a Balla basket at the 4:26 mark. But IPFW ended the half on a 7-2 run to tie the game at 27-27.
Haluska was whistled for a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct during the halftime period, allowing Luper to hit a free throw at the start of the second half. The extra point would prove costly for the home team.
IPFW mounted a 9-0 run, capped by two Haluska free throws, to take a 52-43 lead with 5:35 left.
But the Golden Eagles would rally. Luper tied the game at 54-54 on a three-pointer with 1:10 left. The junior appeared to get fouled on a drive to the basket with 14 seconds left in regulation, but the officials ruled the play a charge, giving IPFW a chance to win.
The home team didn't get a shot off, sending the game to overtime.
Haluska drained a corner three-pointer with 22 second left, giving the Mastodons a 61-60 led and setting the stage for Luper's heroics. The junior drove to the basket on the same set play that led to a charge at the end of regulation.
This time, IPFW's Mauk was whistled for a block, and Luper hit two free throws to win the game.
The victory clinches the No. 2 seed for ORU in the upcoming Summit League Tournament.
The Golden Eagles are back on the court Monday night, when they take on Oakland. Tip-off in Rochester Hills, Mich., is slated for 5:30 pm CT.
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