Provided by The Summit League
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Golden Eagles didn’t leave any doubt. No. 1 Oral Roberts blew past No. 3 North Dakota State, 92-58, to cap off an undefeated run through conference opponents and win their second Summit League Tournament Championship in the past three years.


With the win, Paul Mills’ team is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time and returns just two years after reaching the Sweet 16 in 2021.
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The resounding victory also made ORU just the second team in Summit League history to reach the 30-win mark.

“The goal was a championship and we didn’t lose any and that came with it. That’s a testament to all the hard work we put in. All the practices, all the sprints,” ORU senior guard Max Abmas said.

The Golden Eagles were led by Abmas, who scored 26 points and tied a career-high with 11 assists. The ORU icon was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player for the second time and was joined on the all-tournament team by Connor Vanover (10 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocks).

 

It was, however, a less obvious player that set the Golden Eagles on their way.

Patrick Mwamba was the offensive catalyst off the bench for ORU in the game’s early stages. The junior scored a season-high 17 points in the first half while helping the Golden Eagles build a commanding lead before five minutes had ticked off the clock.


One early sequence was particularly telling. Kareem Thompson grabbed an offensive rebound on the baseline just before the under-16 media timeout and kicked it out to Abmas, who swung the ball to Isaac McBride who knocked in a corner three. This forced an NDSU timeout, but Vanover rejected a Joshua Streit shot on the ensuing Bison possession. Mwamba would then drill a three to give ORU an 18-3 lead.

The Golden Eagle's momentum would only grow from there. The regular season champions entered halftime with a 51-20 lead, holding the Bison to just 7-26 shooting from the floor in the first half.

“I feel like they just punched us in the face and we weren’t ready for it,” said Bison junior guard Boden Skunberg.

NDSU was unable to dominate the interior as it had in beating South Dakota State in the semifinals. Vanover was a presence in the paint throughout the game and helped ORU jump out to a 14-5 advantage on the glass. Bison head coach Dave Richman also credited Thompson’s physical defense for helping hold all-tournament team honoree Grant Nelson to nine points on 3-8 shooting.

 

“You saw a really hungry group, a really mature group,” Richman said of ORU after the game.

The Golden Eagles now head back to Tulsa and await their seed in the NCAA Tournament.

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