Not even 90 seconds into his team’s matchup against Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State, college basketball’s leading scorer demonstrated he wasn’t intimidated by the NCAA tournament stage.
Max Abmas came around a screen 30 feet from the rim, brazenly pulled up and sank a 3-pointer with both feet inside the mid-court logo.
That shot was emblematic of everything that followed in Oral Roberts’ stunning 75-72 overtime upset of the second-seeded Buckeyes. Not once did the 15th-seeded Golden Eagles appear timid or overwhelmed. Not once did they shrink from the moment.
Behind Abmas’ impossibly deep range and creativity off the dribble and co-star Kevin Obanor’s versatile scoring, Oral Roberts outplayed second-seeded Ohio State for the entirety of Friday’s round of 64 NCAA tournament matchup. Obanor tallied 30 points and Abmas had 29 as the Golden Eagles built a six-point overtime lead and then held on through a white-knuckle finish.
Justin Ahrens and Duane Washington Jr. both missed potential game-tying 3-pointers on Ohio State’s final possession of overtime. Washington’s look was wide open yet bounced harmlessly off the rim, leaving him to cover his face in his hands as Oral Roberts players mobbed one another in jubilation in the background.
“I thought we would win,” Oral Roberts coach Paul Mills said. “Our guys thought we would win.”
Oral Roberts is the first No. 15 seed to win an NCAA tournament game since Middle Tennessee waylaid pre-tournament favorite Michigan State in 2016. Entering this year’s NCAA tournament, No. 15 seeds had an all-time record of 8-132 against No. 2s.
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SOURCE: Yahoo News, Jeff Eisenberg