Summit League championship game: Oral Roberts seals NCAA bid after holding off late North Dakota State rally
Photo: Associated Press

For the first time since 2008, Oral Roberts is going to the NCAA Tournament as the Golden Eagles held off North Dakota State 75-72 in the Summit League championship game.

Max Abmas led Oral Roberts with 23 points and Kevin Obanor had a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Rocky Kreuser had 34 points and nine rebounds for the Bison, which was seeking its third consecutive tournament title.

The Golden Eagles, who lead the country in three-pointers made per game with 11, made nine as they snapped North Dakota State's eight-game winning streak in the tournament.

Abmas, late defensive heroics lead Oral Roberts to first NCAA berth in 13 years

It was the defense that helped Oral Roberts to an early 5-0 lead as it held the Bison off the board for nearly four minutes forcing three turnovers and four missed shots.

After North Dakota State took a 10-9 lead, Obanor took over the game, dominating both ends of the court, starting an 11-0 burst by the Golden Eagles spanning 3:14 hitting a pair of 3-pointers and a highlight-reel dunk to go with a DeShang Weaver triple.

The margin stretched to 25-12 as Obanor found his way to the rim again on a feed by Abmas. Oral Roberts defense then took over, holding North Dakota State scoreless for another three-minute stretch and pushed its advantage to 37-16, as Abmas converted an and-one opportunity with four minutes remaining in the half. 

Kevin Obanor dunks on three North Dakota State defenders during the Summit League championship game/Photo: Josh Jurgens/Associated Press

Kareem Thompson and Carlos Jurgens each hit from long-range, scoring the final six points of the half as Oral Roberts built a 45-20 lead heading into halftime.
 
North Dakota State came out of the break and closed the gap to 48-32, but ORU weathered the attack and stretched the lead back to 19 as Jürgens finished off a three-point play and Abmas added a jumper giving the Golden Eagles a 53-32 advantage with 13 minutes to play.

The Bison continued to whittle down the deficit, cutting it down to 11, 55-44, behind a 12-2 run that spanned more than four minutes until Abmas connected for a corner 3-pointer to end the spurt.
 
A three-point play by Abmas made it a double-digit lead once again, 68-58 with four minutes left on the clock, but North Dakota State continued to chip away. A 6-0 run tightened the game to one possession and a layup by Kreuser pulled the Bison even at 72-72.

Abmas attacked the rim and drew a foul. He made one of two free throws, giving Oral Roberts a 73-72 lead and a defensive stand proved to be the difference.

Francis Lacis denied North Dakota State at the rim with two seconds to play preserving their one-point lead and D'Mauria Jones sunk a pair of free throws to push it to a three-point advantage. Lacis stole the full-court heave to seal Oral Roberts' victory.

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