After Purdue Fort Wayne's 92-68 loss to Oral Roberts at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, coach Jon Coffman said the shellacking might be the kind of wake-up call the Mastodons need.
“This is a really fun group to be around, they practice hard every day they're out there,” Coffman said. “And if I need to flip the switch on them, they respond to it. So I am, I am looking forward (to our next game).
“As much as this wrenches me in my gut, maybe that's what this group needs.”
The opening minutes of the game seemed promising enough for PFW (9-11, 2-3 Summit), as junior guard Brian Patrick made a 3-pointer and the Mastodons hit three of their first four shots of the game.
The Mastodons held the lead for the majority of the first half, and after Patrick hit his second 3 to go up 19-13 it was Oral Roberts coach Paul Mills who was urging his team to put missed shots out of their mind and focus on guarding better.
Mills' instructions clearly worked for the Golden Eagles (11-8, 4-2 Summit), who tied the game at 21-21 on a 3-pointer by senior guard Ty Lazenby. The lead switched eight times in the next 3 minutes before Oral Roberts went on a 13-0 run to go ahead 41-29.
Oral Roberts senior guard Deondre Burns scored seven of his eventual 15 points in that 2 minutes, 21 second stretch, but the impact of senior Emmanuel Nzekwesi was unmistakable. The senior forward scored twice during that run and finished the game with 30 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots. He shot 13 of 17, and was a big reason why the Golden Eagles shot 59.7% for the game and outscored the Mastodons 42-28 in the paint.
PFW made just two of its first 11 shots in the second half, and the Eagles shot 83.3% during that stretch. Turnovers, which had been limited in the Mastodons' loss to South Dakota State last week, once again became an issue, as the Mastodons had 14 giveaways, which turned into 21 points for the Golden Eagles.
Patrick was the Mastodons' scoring leader with 18 points. Holba scored 14 and freshman guard Deonte Billups scored 12 points and had seven rebounds.