Loss stretches home losing streak to four

Drue Aman

Drue AmanSports Editor

A long way from first place.

Actually, SDSU’s as close to last place as it is to conference leader Oral Roberts (10-7, 6-0) after what’s becoming an annual event in Frost Arena besides the Lamb Bonanza.

An Oral Roberts win.

The Jackrabbits (6-10, 2-3) turned the ball over 25 times in a 77-62 loss – their fourth-straight at Frost Arena – against the Kevi Luper-led Golden Eagles Saturday, Jan. 8 in front of 2,346 fans.

Luper, after surpassing 1,000 career points earlier this year in only her second year at Oral Roberts, amassed 28 points and accounted for four of the Golden Eagles’ 19 steals. For SDSU, that’s indicative of what’s become a pattern against the conference-leading Eagles: poor ball control.

“We didn’t take control with our style of ball,” said junior Jennie Sunnarborg, who managed 21 points, six rebounds, and four steals in only 24 minutes. “And then they got their shot flowing.”

Periodic scoring droughts for SDSU have also been a routine. SDSU actually led 21-20 at one point midway through the first half, but then allowed a 16-0 Golden Eagles run, with 10 of those points coming from Luper. The Jacks would not narrow the lead any further in the second half, despite shooting 50 percent from the floor. The fact that Oral Roberts shot 31 more times over the course of the game quelled any hopes to end SDSU’s home losing streak

“That’s because of offensive rebounds for them and turnovers for us,” said SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston on the statistical shooting disparity. “You can’t win games with that particular stat … ultimately, it’s that intensity and determination you play the game with that determines the outcome.”

A high frequency of turnovers will likely stall any chances for a victory, and the Jacks have allowed 23, 25, 26, and 33 turnovers in its previous four matchups with the Golden Eagles. Three of those games have resulted in losses.

“They make adjustments,” said Jackrabbits guard Macie Michelson of the Oral Roberts defense, which Golden Eagles coach Jerry Finkbeiner has labeled as “organized chaos.’ “It’s so aggressive and they don’t guard you. It seems like you have pressure but you don’t, they just guard passing lanes.”

More telling of SDSU’s performance was that, despite shooting a season-high 31 free throws, they made only 20 of them. In addition to that, the Jacks struggled to shoot from three-point range – an area they have excelled in in recent years – shooting only 4-for-17 from beyond the arc.

“You can’t play passively at any time … and we played passively,” Johnston said. “We need to play better basketball; until we play better basketball, we’re going to keep getting the same results.”

#1.1839723:2040408235.png:wbb-oru-GALLAGHER.png:Ashley Eide is trapped in the first half of Jackrabbits loss on Jan. 8.:Collegian Photo by Robby Gallagher