Oral Roberts Pulls Off Another Upset
INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul Mills made it to laundry day. After spending more than a week in the NCAA tournament bubble, Mills and his Oral Roberts team aren't leaving town. The Golden Eagles are headed to the Sweet 16, joining the 2013 Florida Gulf Coast team as the only 15-seeds in tournament history to reach the round of 16.
Oral Roberts erased an 11-point, second-half deficit to beat seventh-seeded Florida 81-78 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on Sunday. The Eagles, who on Friday won their first NCAA tournament game since 1974 by stunning No. 2 seed Ohio State, advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since the same year, when they were called the Titans and the tournament featured only 25 teams.
His team hasn't run out of chances after outscoring Florida 13-4 over the final 4:34. Star tandem Kevin Obanor and Max Abmas fueled Oral Roberts, combining for 54 points and both playing all 40 minutes, but sophomore DeShang Weaver put the Golden Eagles up for good with a corner 3-pointer with 2:09 to play. Florida had two chances to tie in the closing seconds, but 3-point attempts by Tre Mann and Scottie Lewis missed.
Oral Roberts advances in the South Region to face No. 3 seed Arkansas. The teams met on Dec. 20 in Fayetteville; the Razorbacks won 87-76 and held Abmas to only 11 points.
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Oral Roberts is the third Summit League team to reach the Sweet 16, and the first since 1998, when Valparaiso lost to Rhode Island 74-68. Oral Roberts had four consecutive losing seasons until winning 17 games in each of the past two campaigns under Mills.