Oral Roberts Secures Top Spot in Summit League Tournament 
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Oral Roberts Secures Top Spot in Summit League Tournament 

With South Dakota defeating Kansas City in the final game of the Summit League regular season, the teams will be focusing on the Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls. 

This year, the tournament will look a little different as all 10 teams in the conference will be traveling to Sioux Falls. Unlike last year, the top six seeds in the tournament will not play on day one of the tournament.

Monday will be the host of the tournament’s semifinal matches at 6 and 8:30 p.m. and the Summit League Championship game will be played on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

No. 8 Denver Pioneers (15-16 overall, 6-12 league) vs. No. 9 North Dakota Fighting Hawks (12-19, 6-12 league) 

The first game of the tournament will be the eight versus nine matchup between the Pioneers and the Fighting Hawks. The Pioneers have the higher seed in the tournament due a better record against Western Illinois as they beat them once, while North Dakota was swept. 

The Pioneers have four double-digit scorers on their roster with junior guard Tommy Bruner leading the way with 15.8 points per game (ppg). He was followed by sophomore guard Tevin Smith (10.9), sophomore forward Touko Tainamo (10.8) and graduate student forward Tyree Corbett (10.1).  

As for North Dakota, they won five of their last seven games which brought their rank up. They are led by freshman forward B.J. Omot who leads the team in scoring with 12 points per game. Omot also averages a block per game and shoots 39% per game. 

The two teams split their series this season as the Pioneers won the matchup in Denver 78-71 and the Fighting Hawks won the matchup in Grand Forks 86-63. 

No. 7 Kansas City Roos (11-20 overall, 7-11 conference) vs. No. 10 Omaha Mavericks (8-22 overall, 4-14 conference)

The Roos ended their season on a five-game losing streak and falling to the seventh position in the league. They are led by their leading scorers in graduate student guard RayQuawndis Mitchell and senior guard Shemarri Allen who are both averaging above 17 ppg. Allen did not play in the final two games of the regular season due to injury. Kansas City has the best defense in the Summit League as they allowed the least amount of points with 68.6 ppg.

After starting the season 3-3 in league play, Omaha dropped 11 of their last 12 games of the season. The Mavericks are led by sophomore forward Frankie Fidler as he scored a team high of 14.6 ppg. Fidler also led the team in rebounds per game (rpg) with 5.7. 

The two times these teams met this season, Kansas City has gotten the upper hand winning both games 75-59 and 64-61.

This is one of the first two play-in games that will be played on Friday at 8:30 p.m.

No. 1 Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (27-4 overall, 18-0 conference)

For the first time in program history, the Golden Eagles went undefeated in conference play which allowed them to secure the top spot in the tournament. 

Oral Roberts (ORU) is led by the Summit League’s leading scorer senior guard Max Abmas. Abmas averaged 22.3 ppg this season along with dishing out 3.7 assists per game (apg). They also brought in Arkansas transfer senior forward Connor Vanover who averaged 12.6 ppg and led the league in blocks per game with 3.2. 

ORU was not only the top scoring team in the league, they were also third in the NCAA as they scored 84.1 ppg. They also led the league in blocks per game (5.35), apg (14.77) and steals per game (6.84). 

They will await to play the winner between the No. 8 Denver Pioneers and the No. 9 North Dakota Fighting Hawks. Their game will be played on Saturday.  

No. 2 South Dakota State Jackrabbits (18-12 overall, 13-5 conference)

Following their 2022 Summit League Championship title, the Jackrabbits finished the season second in the standings.

The Jackrabbits are led by sophomore guard Zeke Mayo who led them in scoring with 18.3 ppg. Mayo also led the team in apg (3.4), steals per game (1.0) and rpg(6.2). 

SDSU had the seventh highest scoring offense in the Summit League with 70.9 ppg. However, the Jackrabbits stood tall on the defensive side of the ball as they allowed the second least points all season with 69.6 points per game. 

They will play the winner of the No. 7 Kansas City Roos and the No. 10 Omaha Mavericks. The Jackrabbits will play on Saturday. 

No. 3 North Dakota State Bison (14-16 overall, 11-7 conference) vs. No. 6 South Dakota Coyotes (12-18 overall, 7-11)

After losing nine of their 14 players this season, the Bison found themselves as a top four seed for the fifth year in a row. They ended the season winning their way into the third seed after beating St. Thomas on Feb. 24. They are fresh off a win as junior guard Boden Skunberg hit a game winner against Western Illinois on Feb. 26. 

The Bison are led by junior guard Grant Nelson and Skunberg. Nelson led the Bison in ppg (17.9), rpg(8.9), blocks per game (1.7), steals per game (.9) and apg (2.1). Nelson led the league in rebounds and was third in scoring. Skunberg averaged 14.7 ppg and had the best free-throw percentage on the team with 88%. 

Under first-year head coach Eric Peterson, the Coyotes finished in the sixth position in the tournament. This position didn’t become secure until the final game of the regular season as they defeated Kansas City 82-48. 

The Coyotes are led by three double-digit scorers in junior guard Kruz Perrott-Hunt (14.2), junior forward Tasos Kamateros (12.6) and redshirt sophomore A.J. Plitzuweit (11.5). 

These two teams met twice this season with the teams splitting the series. The Bison won in Fargo 73-61 and the Coyotes won in Vermillion 71-62. 

This game will be played on Sunday at 8:30 p.m.

No. 4 Western Illinois Leathernecks (16-13 overall, 9-9 conference) vs. No. 5 St. Thomas Tommies (18-13 overall, 9-9 conference)

The Leathernecks earned the higher seed in the tournament over the Tommies based on their 2-2 record over South Dakota and Kansas City, while the Tommies were 1-3. 

Western Illinois was led by senior guard Trenton Massner who was the Summit League’s second leading scorer with 19.3 ppg. Massner also led the team in apg (5.3) and steals per game (1.5). Senior guard Alex Rosner led the team in minutes per game with 36.8 and was second on the team in ppg with 13.7. 

This is the Tommies first time in the Summit League tournament as they missed out last season. They have three double-digit scorers with freshman guard Andrew Rohde leading the way with 16.7 ppg. Rohde was followed by graduate student forward Parker Bjorklund (14.7) and graduate student guard Riley Miller (12.4). 

These two split the season series with each other as Western Illinois won in Macomb 60-54 and St. Thomas won in St. Paul 82-69. 

This game will be played on Sunday at 6 p.m.