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Oral Roberts overpowers UNO in the second half
BASKETBALL

Oral Roberts overpowers UNO in the second half

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Oral Roberts’ dynamic scorers found their rhythm during a decisive second-half stretch Sunday, and UNO’s defense couldn’t find a way to slow them down until it was too late.

The Golden Eagles (5-5, 2-0) turned a six-point deficit into a 70-60 lead with a dominant offensive barrage that spanned seven minutes midway through the second half. They poured in 27 points over a 12-possession stretch, making 10 shots in a row (including five 3-pointers).

There were strong drives and finishes at the rim. And a couple long-range triples from quick-maneuvering guard Max Abmas, who finished with 37 points. Versatile big man Kevin Obanor also knocked down two pick-and-pop 3-pointers with a hand in his face.

The Mavs (2-10, 0-2) weren’t able to keep pace, losing their second game of the weekend to ORU at Baxter Arena. Sunday’s 86-75 loss marked the sixth straight defeat for UNO.

“You’ve got to tip your hats to them. They hit shots,” Mavs junior Marlon Ruffin said. “We did just about everything we could. We were there on the shot. They just found a way to get the ball in.”

A day earlier, it was Obanor whose shot-making created problems for the Mavs. He finished with 37 points in the Golden Eagles’ 95-83 win Saturday.

Abmas was the biggest difference-maker Sunday, although Obanor ended up with 27. It was Abmas, the 6-foot-1 sophomore, who stretched UNO’s defense with his jumper and created havoc once he dribbled inside. He had 22 points at halftime and finished with seven 3-pointers. His last triple made it 73-61 with 5:44 remaining.

“When they get into a rhythm, they’re the two best players in the league,” Mavs coach Derrin Hansen said. “And they play on the same side of the floor. That makes it difficult on you. It really stresses your defense.”

Hansen said limiting that duo — and the rest of ORU’s weapons — requires a heightened level of attention to detail, tons of effort and good on-court communication. He thought his players, particularly the young reserves stepping in for injured juniors Zach Thornhill and Marco Smith, brought that for much of the afternoon rematch.

UNO pulled ahead 49-43 with 14 minutes left after a free throw from redshirt freshman La’Mel Robinson, who scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

But the Mavs never seemed to be able to put together a big run of their own to seize full control of the game’s momentum.

They went 1 of 12 from the 3-point line (Oral Roberts knocked down 12 triples). They had 46 points in the paint and a 20-5 edge in second-chance points, but they ended up switching to a smaller lineup late to try to create some turnovers.

UNO did battle back to pull within 75-72 at the 3:29 mark. Ruffin, who finished with 21 points, scored nine straight to help spark his team. But trailing by three, the Mavs turned the ball over on three straight possessions and ORU sealed the win.

UNO is scheduled to return to the court next weekend when it travels for two road games against North Dakota State.


Meet the 2020-21 UNO men's basketball team

Omaha World-Herald: Local Sports

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