No. 15 Seed Oral Roberts Upsets Ohio State in N.C.A.A. Tournament


Oral Roberts has joined an elite club.

Behind a combined 59 points from Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor, the Golden Eagles became just the ninth No. 15 seed ever to topple a 2 when they stunned Ohio State, 75-72, in overtime in the first round. It was the program’s first N.C.A.A. tournament win since 1974.

Some had Ohio State pegged as a potential Final Four team, but they are out and Oral Roberts advances to play No. 7 Florida on Sunday.

Oral Roberts became the first No. 15 seed to upset a No. 2 since Middle Tennessee State defeated Michigan State in 2016.

Other famous 15/2 upsets featured Florida Gulf Coast over Georgetown in 2013, Lehigh over Duke in 2012 and Richmond over Syracuse in 1991.

Oral Roberts outscored Ohio State 11-8 in the extra period.

With Ohio State trailing 73-69, E.J. Liddell drained a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 73-72.

Obanor then made two free throws to push the lead to 75-72 with 13 seconds remaining. He finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds.

Ohio State missed two 3-point attempts in the final seconds.

“I didn’t know if it was going in or not. I knew that the guys weren’t going to quit on the play, and that’s a great basketball team we just beat. At the end of the day we knew they weren’t going to quit and we were able to come out with a victory,” said Abmas, the leading scorer in Division I. He poured in 29 points on 10-of-24 shooting for Oral Roberts, and had 18 at the half, when Oral Roberts led 36-33.

About 24 hours into the tournament, two Big Ten powers are out: Ohio State and Michigan State, which lost in a First Four game Thursday night to U.C.L.A.


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