10 years ago today, March 8th, 2011. Oral Roberts took on Oakland in the Summit League Tournament final. Oakland won the game 90-76, advancing to the NCAA tournament. This was also the last time that Oral Roberts was in the Summit League Championship game. It also marked the last time that a team not named North Dakota State or South Dakota State represented the Summit League in the NCAA tournament. With South Dakota State eliminated at the buzzer by Oral Roberts we await the results of the North Dakota State and South Dakota game.
Coming off a game that had been described as their best defensive game of the season, Oral Roberts came out with intensity and again played a fantastic defensive first half helping them to a 43-34 lead at half. The Golden Eagles seemed to confuse the Jackrabbits with a zone and it led to turnovers and offensive struggles in the first half.
South Dakota State solved the zone in the second half and chipped away at the halftime deficit as the second half progressed. South Dakota State trailed by 9 with 13:03 remaining and then Baylor Scheierman took over. The sophomore guard made 3 3-point baskets in less than a two-minute span and suddenly the ORU lead was 3. Then a theme developed, SDSU cuts the gap to a single possession and ORU hits a big shot. 3 point game 9:03 left, Francis Lacis 3. 1 point game 7:31 left Kareem Thompson 3. 2 point game 5:16 left, Lacis dunk. 1 point game 36 seconds left. Thompson 3. Notice not once have I mentioned the names Kevin Obanor or Max Abmas, ORU’s all-league players. ORU held the league for the entire second half until Baylor Scheierman made 3 free throws to tie the game with 9.2 seconds left. That tie lasted 9.2 seconds. Summit League player of the year Max Abmas drove to his left and put up a shot. It rolled off the rim and Kevin Obanor, grabbed the rebound, entered the matrix, and somehow twisted up a putback that fell in as the buzzer sounded.
South Dakota State was led by Baylor Scheierman who scored 28 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and handed out 7 assists. Douglas Wilson added 20 points and 9 rebounds for the Jacks. Oral Roberts was led by Kareem Thompson with 22, and Max Abmas added 18 points and 10 assists.
Oral Roberts plays the winner of North Dakota State and South Dakota at 8 pm tomorrow on ESPN 2.