MBB set for a road trip against Oral Roberts, Denver

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MBB set for a road trip against Oral Roberts, Denver

Colton Prince, Sports Reporter

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A six-game winning streak for the South Dakota State Jackrabbits men’s basketball team will be on the line as the team travels to Oral Roberts and Denver.

Halfway through Summit League play, the Jackrabbits find themselves atop of the conference after a big win against the University of Omaha Mavericks last Saturday night.

On Thursday, Jan. 31, the Jacks (17-6, 7-1) will travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma to take on the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (8-15, 4-4). In the last matchup, the Jacks downed the Golden Eagles 84-65 in Brookings.

Currently, Oral Roberts is in the fifth-place spot in the conference and is scoring the third-lowest average (70.4 points per game), and are shooting the lowest-percentage. The Golden Eagles are also averaging the most turnovers in the conference with 15.

Emmanuel Nzekwesi

Emmanuel Nzekwesi, a junior forward from Trophy Club Texas, is carrying his continued success from the last two seasons over to his junior campaign.

Nzekwesi has been a dependable big man for the Golden Eagles over the last few years and has continued to develop into quite a weapon as he averages career highs with 15.4 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game.

Despite all of this, Nzekwesi has had to sit out the last two games to try and nurse a nagging ankle sustained in a match-up with South Dakota. However, Nzekwesi will be active for the game on Thursday.

Kevin Obanor

Obanor, a redshirt freshman who transferred to ORU in the middle of last season, has put quite the campaign together in his first year with the team.

Obanor is a 6-foot-8-inch forward with the capability to score inside or out. During his average 19.8 minutes on the floor, he averages 13 points per game as well as 6.5 rebounds per game. The reason he is an effective scorer stems from his ability to shoot the ball. He shoots 59 percent from the floor on a regular basis and 81 percent from the charity stripe.

“He’s a phenomenal mismatch guy, he really forces the ball to the rim, he can score over his shoulder,” Otzelberger said. “We got to make sure we keep him out of the paint and off the glass.”

Denver

On Sunday, Feb. 3, the Jacks will travel on to the second and final game on the road against the last-place Denver Pioneers.

Denver (7-15, 2-6) has only managed to defeat North Dakota State and Oral Roberts in conference play. The last time the Pioneers and Jackrabbits met was in Frost Arena where the Jacks explosive start to the game helped them defeat the Pioneers 78-66.

The Denver defense has also struggled as they have been outscored 602 to 574 by opponents during conference play this season.

Ronnie Harrell Jr.

Harrell, a senior transfer out of Creighton, is leading his new team in scoring and rebounds in his first and only season as a Pioneer.

Harrell in his 29.6 minutes per game is averaging is averaging a career-high 14 points per game. The 6-foot-7-inch guard also averages 5.6 rebounds per game.

 Joe Rosga

Rosga is the senior leader of the team as he has been present in an active role for the Pioneers since the 2015-16 season.

“I think as a senior and as a guy who has scored big in this league in his fourth year,” Otzelberger said. “I think he is stepping up saying ‘this is my last go around,’ so we will have to do what we can to neutralize him.”

Rosga averages the most minutes on the floor out of anyone on the Denver team and makes the most of it scoring 13.2 points per game while shooting a cool 42 percent from the floor and 42 percent from the 3-point line.

Rosga has also continued his success from the charity stripe shooting 88 percent from the line.

The games against Oral Roberts and Denver will tip off at 7 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. respectively.