Max Abmas becomes first ORU player to score 40 points since 2008 in 103-86 win over South Dakota State

Max Abmas


86 South Dakota St. 11-5,5-2 Summit League

103 Oral Roberts 11-8,8-3 Summit League

Location: Tulsa, Okla. (Mabee Center)

TULSA, Okla. – Behind 42 points from Max Abmas, the Oral Roberts men’s basketball team scored 56 second-half points to shoot past South Dakota State in a 103-86 victory Saturday afternoon at the Mabee Center.

The Golden Eagles out-scored SDSU by 21 points in the second half overturning a four-point halftime deficit in a lopsided win as their role players stepped into the spotlight Saturday. While Abmas and Kevin Obanor combined for 60 points, it was the 16 points from Sheldon Stevens and 13 by Carlos Jürgens that helped ORU take down the preseason Summit League favorites.

After the Jackrabbits scored the opening basket, Obanor answered with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. The visitors were able to post the next 10 points by holding the Golden Eagles scoreless for more than three minutes. ORU fought right back and used a 9-2 burst over the next two minutes making it a 14-12 game. SDSU made another push and stretched its lead to 27-15 before the home side started chipping away with the deep ball.

Abmas caught fire and scored 13-straight ORU points turning an eight-point deficit into a one-point contest, 36-35, as the sophomore connected on five-consecutive shots. The Golden Eagles were able to keep the margin within striking distance as Jürgens and DeShang Weaver each hit from distance, but could not break through as the Jackrabbits held a 51-47 edge at halftime.

It was the outside shot early in the second half that gave ORU the lead as Francis Lacis knocked down an open triple pushing to a 54-53 advantage hitting the team’s 10th 3-pointer of the night. Jürgens followed by draining a 3-ball from the corner and the Golden Eagles led 57-54 and quickly extended the lead to six. SDSU closed the advantage down to one, 62-61, before Stevens converted an and-1 pushing ORU in front by eight, 69-61, with less than 12 minutes to play.

The Golden Eagles shut down the short run attempted by the Jacks using another Abmas 3-pointer and stretched the lead to double figures, 79-69. SDSU closed the margin to six, but Jürgens and Abmas scored from deep again and the advantage swelled to 12 and never dipped into single digits the rest of the way. A 9-2 run by ORU built the edge to 17 with 3:23 remaining and went as high as 21 points before the Golden Eagles closed out the 103-86 win.

Turning Point
Trailing by four points 30 seconds into the second half, ORU turned up the intensity defensively and limited SDSU into three points during a five-minute span on 1-of-5 shooting, while forcing four turnovers. The Golden Eagles scored 13 during that time to take a six-point lead and never gave up the advantage the rest of the night.

Individual Leaders
Oral Roberts: Abmas would not be denied at any level as the Rockwall, Texas, native scored inside and out registering a career-high 42 points, including 20 in the first half. He left to a standing ovation from the Mabee Center crowd in the closing minutes.

South Dakota State: Baylor Scheierman led the Jackrabbits in scoring and rebounding behind a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double.

Inside the Box Score
– In the first frame alone, Abmas came one point shy of matching his season average scoring 20 points and went on to finish with 42, the second-most points by a NCAA player this season. He hit his career high on 14-of-20 shooting, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, and made 9-of-10 free throws.

– Obanor nearly tallied a double-double in the first half totaling nine points and eight rebounds before intermission. The redshirt junior only played 13 minutes in the second half and still posted an 18-point, 11-rebound double-double, his 10th of the campaign.

– Stevens had a breakout performance as the junior provided a spark on the offensive end going for a career-best 16 points off 5-of-9 shooting and hit three from distance. Jürgens chipped in 13 points playing 34 minutes and made 5-of-7 shots, while hitting 3-of-4 3-pointers.

News and Notes
– ORU snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Jackrabbits picking up its first win over SDSU since Jan. 12, 2017 and scored 100 points for the second time this season.

– Abmas put together the first 40-point game by an ORU player since Moses Ehambe had 40 at Western Illinois Feb. 14, 2008.

– The Golden Eagles forced SDSU into 18 turnovers, matching its season high, leading directly to 23 points holding a 23-9 edge in points off turnovers.

– ORU shot 54 percent overall and 53 percent from long range hitting 16 3-pointers for its best shooting percentage from 3-point range of the year. It was the 10th time this season making 10 or more from behind the arc.

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