Oral Roberts’ buzzer-beater ends Jackrabbit’s season

Evan Patzwald, Sports Reporter

The South Dakota State men’s basketball season ended Monday night off of an Oral Roberts tip-in at the buzzer in the Summit League Tournament.

Baylor Scheierman hit three clutch free throws to tie the game with 9.3 seconds left in the game. Then Max Abmas of ORU pulled up for a fadeaway jumper and missed but Kevin Obanor got a hand on the ball and tipped it in as time expired.

The Jackrabbits were bounced from the tournament for the third straight season after winning three straight years.

“Certainly, disappointed in the outcome,” coach Eric Henderson said after the loss. “But I’m proud of our guys’ fight. A lot of plays can make a difference, obviously, the last one is painful, but we’ll learn from this and move forward.”

Scheierman left it all out on the court as he put up a career-high 28 points and nearly had a triple-double adding nine rebounds and seven assists.

“It definitely hurts,” Scheierman said. “Those are the type of games you dream of playing in as a kid, but you always dream of winning it, not losing it.”

The Golden Eagles controlled the game for the entire second half as each team traded buckets and neither team could get a stop on defense during the final eight minutes of the game.

SDSU outrebounded Oral Roberts 40-21 in the game but could not come up with the final rebound where it counted.

Six players scored in double figures for ORU. Kareem Thompson led the team with 22 points. Abmas finished with 18 points and Obanor had 14, all in the second half.

“Obanor and Max get so much attention, and you got to give them a little bit of credit,” Henderson said. “We’ve got to use this as motivation and get better.”

Douglas Wilson had another strong game, considering this is his first time playing in the tournament. He had 22 points and 10 rebounds shooting 9-of-22 from the floor.

Charlie Easley limited Abmas, the leading scorer in the country, to four points in the second half and defended the final shot of the game.

“He’s been awesome,” Henderson said of Easley. “He’s tough, he’s gritty, he makes 50-50 plays. I thought Charlie and Matt Mims did a terrific job on him. “

Normally, the Jacks would be heading to the NIT, since they finished first in the conference but did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament, but the field was trimmed to only 16 at-large bids this season.

“We’re certainly open to anything,” Henderson said of participating in the NIT.  “We love being around each other and that’s the hardest part. As far as the NIT goes, that wasn’t our goal, but if we’re invited, we’d love to play in it.”

The Jackrabbits finished the season 16-7 overall with a 9-3 record in conference play. They now wait to see if they will have a chance to participate in the NIT.