Score: Oral Roberts 87 – Omaha 84
Record: ORU (5-11, 1-0) – UNO (7-8, 1-1)
Location: Omaha, Neb. (Baxter Arena)
TULSA, Okla. – The Oral Roberts men's basketball team held off an Omaha charge and grabbed an 87-84 road win Sunday afternoon at Baxter Arena. The Golden Eagles were 9-10 from the free throw line in the final 10 minutes of the game to help seal the victory.
ORU's inside-out combination was unstoppable as Emmanuel Nzekwesi scored a career high 28 points to lead all scorers. Kevin Obanor also did work inside with 19 points, while DeShang Weaver provided the outside threat going 7-10 from 3-point range en route to 21 points. Sam Kearns chipped in 11 points and led ORU with four steals, adding seven assists without turning the ball over.
Omaha got 21 points and eight assists from J.T. Gibson and 19 points and seven rebounds from Zach Jackson. K.J. Robinson added 14 points and Mitch Hahn scored 12 points.
ORU out-rebounded the Mavericks 37-23 and had five blocks in the game, matching the second most this year. ORU had eight swats against Southwestern, and five each against James Madison and BYU.
Quote of the Game
"For us to come out of here with a victory was really a tribute to the free throw line for us. We were able to make 9-of-10 in the second half and for us that was the difference in the basketball game. DeShang can really shoot the ball and we needed him to make some shots to loosen things up for Emmanuel and Kevin. You aren't going to get a kid to go 7-10 every day, but he can shoot the ball and to his credit he made shots tonight." – Head Coach Paul Mills
After taking a shot from Omaha to start the second half, A Weaver 3-pointer put ORU up 64-62 with 9:17 to play. The game was tied on two more occasions, but ORU never trailed again.
Oral Roberts: Nzekwesi led ORU in scoring (28 points) and rebounding (14 rebounds), while Kearns led ORU in assist (seven) and steals (four).
Omaha: Gibson led the Mavericks in scoring with 21 points and also led them in assist with eight. Jackson had a team high seven rebounds.
Inside the Box Score
- ORU shot 53 percent (31-58) from the field, 41 percent (10-24) from 3-point range, and 83 percent (15-18) from the free throw line, including a 9-10 mark in the second half.
- Omaha shot 47 percent (31-66) from the field, 39 percent (11-28) from 3-point range) and 68 percent (11-16) from the free throw line.
- ORU held a 21-5 rebounding advantage at halftime, and finished the game out-rebounding Omaha 37-23, leading to an 18-9 lead in second chance points.
- ORU held a 38-32 edge in points in the paint and a 23-9 advantage in bench points, thanks to 19 points from Obanor.
- ORU had 18 turnovers while Omaha had 11 and the Mavericks used it to a 20-10 advantage in points off turnovers.
News and Notes
- ORU is now 4-0 on the season when leading with three minutes to play. The Golden Eagles held a four point lead (78-74) when the clock hit 3:00 Sunday.
- The Golden Eagles handed Omaha its first loss of the season when scoring 80-plus points. The Mavericks entered the game 7-0 when reaching 80 points and 0-7 when falling short.
- ORU is 5-2 this season when leading at halftime this season. ORU held a 49-38 lead at the break, the largest lead of the game, and led for 35:31 of the game.
- ORU's 83.3 percent from the free throw line was the best percentage of the season when attempting at least 10 free throws. It was the third time this season in which ORU has shot 80 percent or better, hitting 81 percent (26-32) in an overtime win over James Madison, and 87 percent (7-8) at SMU.
- Weaver hit a career high seven 3-pointers (7-for-10), and scored 21 points. It was his second 20-point game of the season, two short of his career high 23 sored against Ecclesia. The freshman now has 12 made 3-pointers in the last two games, and has four or more 3-pointers in five games this year.
- Nzekwesi was a force all game and finished with a career high 28 points and 14 rebounds, a season high.
- Sunday marked the first time this season in which ORU has had two 20-point scorers. The last time it happened was when Nzekwesi and Austin Ruder each scored 20 against Denver in The Summit League tournament last season.
- This is the second year in a row in which ORU has started The Summit League season with a win having beat Omaha at the Mabee Center to start league play last year.
ORU will host Summit League newcomer North Dakota and Western Illinois at the Mabee Center this week.
For the latest information on ORU men's basketball, follow @ORUMBB on Twitter or Instagram, or go to www.ORUAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the ORU Athletics Front Row App at ORUAthletics.com/frontrow or the ORU Golden Eagles Live App in iTunes or the Google Play Store. For tickets, visit mabeecenter.com or call 495-7ORU (7678).