When you’re in need of a big basket in the final seconds, it certainly helps a coach if he has one of his conference’s best players to call upon.
That was the case for Oral Roberts head coach Scott Sutton, whose senior guard Obi Egemano (preseason Summit League Player of the Year) provided the heroics in the Golden Eagles’ 70-68 win over city rival Tulsa. After Tulsa’s Shaquille Harrison split a pair of free throws with 9.5 seconds remaining Egemano dribbled the length of the floor, knocking down a challenged fadeaway baseline jumper with 1.9 seconds to go.
Egemano’s shot capped a wild final minute, as ORU erased a four-point deficit against the Golden Hurricane with Albert Owens scoring five straight points before Harrison split two free throws. As a result the Golden Eagles will hold onto the Mayor’s Cup for a third consecutive year.
In the first half of Oral Roberts’ 72-55 loss at Saint Louis on Thursday night sophomore guard Obi Egemano went down with a knee injury, leaving the program to hold out hope that the results of the MRI would be favorable. However head coach Scott Sutton didn’t sound too optimistic after the loss at SLU, and following the Golden Eagles’ 76-67 loss at No. 12 Wisconsin on Saturday the head coach announced that Egemano had in fact torn his ACL.
The injury means that Oral Roberts will be without their best offensive player for the remainder of the 2013-14 season.
Prior to the loss at Saint Louis Egemano, who began his college career at Western Illinois, played 35 minutes per game and posted averages of 23.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per contest. And in each of those three games Egemano was able to take advantage of the foul line, as he attempted at least nine free throws in all three contests.
Oral Roberts struggled without Egemano against Saint Louis, and that’s to be expected when a team sees a teammate go down with a serious injury during the game. The Golden Eagles were better offensively against Wisconsin, with Shawn Glover leading three players in double figures with 24 points and as a team shooting 55.1% from the field.
Without Egemano players such as Glover and sophomore guards Korey Billbury and D.J. Jackson will need to grab the reins offensively for a team picked in the preseason to finish second in the Southland behind Northwestern State. ORU already had to adjust to life without guard Warren Niles (18.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg), forward Steven Roundtree (9.8, 6.4) and center Damen Bell-Holter (15.5, 9.4), so losing Egemano is another blow the Golden Eagles will look to absorb as they prepare for their first season in the Southland.
Oral Roberts will play its second game of the season without Egemano on Tuesday, when they take on Georgia Southern in Cancun.