ORLANDO, Fla. — When Max Abmas withdrew from the NBA draft last year to return to school, the dynamic guard wanted to go out on top with Oral Roberts and create a lasting buzz.
He and the Golden Eagles have a chance to do just that.
Oral Roberts will make their seventh appearance in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday as the No. 12 seed in the East Region. They will open up against fifth-seeded Duke at Amway Center, the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
The Golden Eagles (30-4, 18-0) arrive as the champions of the Summit League after finishing the season with the longest winning streak in the country at 17 games. They were the only team to go undefeated in conference play.
“We know when you get a 12-seed, a lot of the time you have a champion. Oral Roberts, they’re the champion of their league, regular season and tournament,” Duke head coach Jon Scheyer said. “They haven’t lost since Jan. 9. They’re used to winning. Regardless of who you were going to play, but especially with them, we know how good they are and what a challenge it’s going to be.”
The team last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2021 when it advanced to the Sweet 16 for only the second time in program history (1974). As the 15-seed, the Golden Eagles upset (2) Ohio State and (7) Florida before falling to (3) Arkansas.
Leading the way that year was Abmas.
Abmas, then a sophomore, led the country in scoring (24.5 points per game) and was named the Summit League Player of the Year. He became the first player since Stephen Curry in 2008 to score at least 25 points in each of his first three NCAA Tournament games.
That experience, Abmas said, will help Oral Roberts.
I think it definitely helps. Being here a couple of years ago, kind of understanding everything and what comes with it. The big thing for us is really staying in the moment, blocking the outside distractions and getting ready for the game tomorrow.
Abmas was once again named the Summit League Player of the Year this season after averaging 22.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, four assists and 1.1 steals on 37.7% shooting from 3-point range. He was also named to the AP All-American…
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Author : Rookie Wire
Publish date : 2023-03-15 23:48:03
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