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A look at ORU basketball: Key returners, important newcomers and storylines to watch
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A look at the 2021-22 Oral Roberts Golden Eagles

A look at ORU basketball: Key returners, important newcomers and storylines to watch

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Western Illinois at ORU

Max Abmas averaged 24.5 points last season in helping lead Oral Roberts to a run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Abmas chose to return to ORU for his junior season.

Oral Roberts

2020-21 record: 18-11, 10-5 Summit League

Head coach: Paul Mills, fifth season

Overall record: 57-67 (four seasons)

Key returners: G Max Abmas, 6-1, Jr., 24.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg; G Kareem Thompson, 6-6, Jr., 8.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg; F Francis Lācis, 6-7, Sr., 4.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg; G Carlos Jürgens, 6-4, Jr., 6-0 ppg, 2.9 rpg

Top additions: G Issac McBride, 6-1, So., 4.7 ppg at Vanderbilt; G Trey Phipps, 6-2, So., 7.5 mpg, 2.6 ppg at Oklahoma; F Luka Tekavcic, 6-11, Fr.; F Sir Issac Herron, 6-9, Fr.; G Elijah Lawrence, 6-1, Fr.

First game: at Colorado State, Nov. 9

3-pointers

Schedule highlights: The season begins with an intriguing road contest at Colorado State, facing a Rams team that won 20 games last year.

The Golden Eagles play back-to-back home games against in-state rivals Oklahoma State (Nov. 26) and Tulsa (Nov. 29), then visits TCU on Dec. 2 in Fort Worth, Texas.

ORU twice plays North Dakota State in a rematch of last season’s conference championship game, in which the Golden Eagles led by 25 and held on for a three-point victory.

Returning stars/potential breakouts: There’s no star bigger than Max Abmas, who led the nation in scoring and helped ORU to the Sweet 16 as a sophomore.

Issac McBride, a savvy guard who signed with Kansas out of high school, transferred in from Vanderbilt to assist with scoring.

With Kevin Obanor transferring to Texas Tech, ORU signed big men Luka Tekavcic and Sir Issac Herron. Elijah Lufile, a forward who missed last season with an injury, also is back.

Expectations: Nobody could have expected a historic March like what happened to the Golden Eagles last season. Riding high from that momentum, ORU can again contend in the Summit League and potentially make the tournament. Replacing Obanor is difficult, but Abmas is one of the nation’s top players.

Schedule

Nov. 9: at Colorado State, 8:30 p.m.

Nov. 12: Southwestern Christian, 7 p.m.

Nov. 18: Haskell, 7 p.m.

Nov. 20: at Central Arkansas, 3:15 p.m.

Nov. 23: Rogers State, 7 p.m.

Nov. 26: Oklahoma State, 3 p.m.

Nov. 29: Tulsa, 7 p.m.

Dec. 2: at TCU, 7 p.m.

Dec. 4: at Houston Baptist, 7 p.m.

Dec. 11: at Missouri State, 3 p.m.

Dec. 16: UT Arlington, 7 p.m.

Dec. 20: at South Dakota, 7 p.m.

Dec. 22: at South Dakota State, 7 p.m.

Dec. 30: Denver, 7 p.m.

Jan. 1: Omaha, 7 p.m.

Jan. 6: at St. Thomas, 7 p.m.

Jan. 8: at Western Illinois, 2 p.m.

Jan. 15: at Kansas City, 7 p.m.

Jan. 20: North Dakota, 7 p.m.

Jan. 22: North Dakota State, 7 p.m.

Jan. 27: at Omaha, 7 p.m.

Jan. 29: at Denver, 3 p.m.

Feb. 3: Western Illinois, 7 p.m.

Feb. 5: St. Thomas, 7 p.m.

Feb. 12: Kansas City, 7 p.m.

Feb. 17: at North Dakota State, 7 p.m.

Feb. 19: at North Dakota, 1 p.m.

Feb. 24: South Dakota State, 7 p.m.

Feb. 26: South Dakota, 7 p.m.

March 5-8: Summit League championship, Sioux Falls, S.D.

— Kelly Hines, Tulsa World

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Sports Writer

I have covered college football and college basketball for the Tulsa World since 2012. I spend my spare time as an animal rescue volunteer, focusing on spaying and neutering community cats in the Tulsa area. Phone: 918-581-8452

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