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Big Men Lead ORU to 83-72 Win Over North Dakota

Big Men Lead ORU to 83-72 Win Over North Dakota

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The Basics
Score: Oral Roberts 83 – North Dakota 72
Record: ORU (6-11, 2-0) – UND (6-9, 0-2)
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (Mabee Center)

TULSA, Okla. – Oral Roberts forwards Emmanuel Nzekwesi and Kevin Obanor combined to score 57 points while shooting 20-25 from the field to lead the Golden Eagles to an 83-72 win over North Dakota Thursday night at the Mabee Center.

ORU is off to a 2-0 start in Summit League play for the second year in a row after winning its first three League games last season.

Nzekwesi (34 points) registered a new career high in his first career 30-point game, while Obanor (23 points) topped the 20-point plateau for the first time. Obanor also led the Golden Eagles with eight rebounds as ORU won the rebounding battle 32-29.  Sam Kearns added 13 points in the win.

Edmond native Conner Avants scored 21 points and had six rebounds to lead North Dakota in both categories.

Quote of the Game
"I thought tonight the difference makers were Emmanuel, Kevin and even Kerwin. I thought Kerwin did a really good job defensively. To have career highs from Kevin and Emmanuel and to have them combine to go 20-for-25 led to a high-scoring evening." – Coach Paul Mills

Turning Point
ORU's 17-point lead was trimmed to four points with 4:16 to play after a jumper by Avants, but Obanor hit a pair of free throws and DeShang Weaver hit his only 3-pointer of the day with 3:12 on the clock to push it back out to nine points.

Individual Leaders
Oral Roberts: Nzekwesi led ORU in scoring with 34 points and steals with three, matching his career high, while Obanor led ORU with eight rebounds. Weaver and Kaelen Malone each had three assists, marking a season high for Weaver.
North Dakota: Avants did it all for the Fighting Hawks, leading UND in scoring (21 points), rebounding (six rebounds), and had one of two blocks.

Inside the Box Score
- ORU shot 62 percent (31-50) from the field, 40 percent (4-10) from 3-point range and 73.9 percent (17-23) from the free throw line, including a 16-19 mark in the second half.

- North Dakota shot 42 percent (25-59) from the field, 32 percent (9-28) from 3-point range and 76 percent (13-17) from the free throw line.

- ORU out-rebounded North Dakota 32-29, but the Fighting Hawks had eight offensive rebounds to ORU's three, and used it to a 9-5 edge in second chance points.

- ORU out-scored UND 40-28 in the paint and 11-0 on fast breaks.

News and Notes
- ORU shot 62 percent from the field, the first time shooting better than 60 percent since connecting on 40-65 (61.5 percent) against John Brown in 2016. It was the highest percentage for a game since shooting 67 percent (34-51) at Oakland in 2012.

- Nzekwesi's 34 points was not only a career high, but was the first 30-point performance for a Golden Eagle since Albert Owens scored 33 against Oakland November 27, 2017.

- ORU moved to 6-2 when leading at halftime, taking a five-point advantage into the locker room after a Kearns three at the buzzer.

- Thursday was the first meeting between the two programs as North Dakota is in its first year as a member of the Summit League.

Up Next
The Golden Eagles will stay at home to face Western Illinois Saturday, January 5 at 7 p.m.     

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).

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