I meant to publish this article long ago, however, I wanted to see how Oral Roberts’ tournament run played out. For them, a Max Abmas three-pointer that hit off the front of the rim from the right wing ended a miraculous tournament run by the 15-seeded Golden Eagles, who were led by the nation’s leading scorer in Abmas. He had help from versatile big man Kevin Obanor all tournament long, who gave Ohio State and Florida trouble until he struggled against the Razorbacks of Arkansas in their 72-70 defeat in the Sweet 16. Oral Roberts became just the second 15 seed ever to reach the Sweet 16, following the Florida Gulf Coast known as “Dunk City” in 2013 that did the same.
As for the Buckeyes defeat, they looked very sluggish all game long. Not only did they allow Oral Roberts to hang around, but they allowed their two best players to stay comfortable all game long in Abmas and Obanor. Obanor finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds, including 5-12 shooting from 3-point range (9-21 overall). Obanor entered the game shooting nearly 48% from three, so Ohio State’s lack of coverage on Obanor from deep was mind-boggling and flat-out frustrating. As for Abmas, he’s the nation’s leading scorer for a reason. Shooting 10-24 (5-10 from three), Abmas had 29 points, and the combination of Obanor and Abmas was too lethal for Ohio State’s defense.
Offensively, Ohio State’s offense was… not good AT ALL. EJ Liddell had his best game since the regular season, with 23 points (10-15 shooting, 1-3 from 3), 14 rebounds, and 5 assists as he tried to will the Buckeyes from being upset. Duane Washington struggled from the field (7-21 overall, 3-12 from the field), yet managed 18 points and 10 rebounds. Justin Sueing disappeared and only scored 7 points, and CJ Walker had 12 points off the bench. Ohio State shot 5-23 from three (22%), and a putrid 9-18 on free throws (50%), which ended up costing them the game. Even worse, a usually turnover-free offense committed 16 of them in this game. Oral Roberts had just 6 turnovers for the whole game. On their final possession of overtime, Justin Ahrens missed a contested game-tying three pointer followed by a tip-out to a WIDE-OPEN (and I mean WIDE-OPEN) Washington who missed at the top of the key. GAME OVER: Oral Roberts 75, Ohio State 72.
Kyle Young’s presence was once again missed, especially on the defensive end, even though Ohio State out-rebounded Oral Roberts by 17 (49-32). After the loss, there was widespread criticism after EJ Liddell received death threats. As a fan of this sport, a sport I love, that is highly uncalled for by any human-being. The players and coaches are the ones hurting more than anyone else sitting at home eating a bag of potato chips hiding behind a screen saying such degrading things. Humanity should be ashamed of where our society has come to over a SPORTING EVENT.