Arkansas vs. Oral Roberts score: Razorbacks bounce back to advance to Elite Eight with dramatic win

Oral Roberts reached the pinnacle of NCAA Tournament history on Saturday night before No. 3 seed Arkansas stole a 72-70 victory in the final seconds. The Razorbacks prevented the Eagles from making history, as they would have been the first No. 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight. However, Max Abmas’ last 3-pointer hit the rim and rebounded, and the Razorbacks escaped.

Davonte Davis nailed a 3.1-second jump shot to give Arkansas the lead for good and lead it to victory. Arkansas will advance to play No. 1 seed Baylor on Monday with a Final Four spot on the line.

Jalen Tate led Arkansas with 22 points as the Razorbacks used a solid second-half performance in a game that bore similarities to the first time Arkansas and Oral Roberts played this season. The Eagles led 40-30 at halftime on December 20 before the Razorbacks responded with force for an 87-76 victory.

This time, ORU led 35-28 at halftime, and the Eagles actually grew that lead to 46-34 early in the second half. But the Razorbacks came back on Saturday, just like they did during the previous meeting between the teams. Abmas led Oral Roberts with 25 points. The nation’s leading scorer looked great in the closing seconds. But when he hit iron, the Eagles’ Cinderella career came to an end.

For an Arkansas team that hadn’t been in a Sweet 16 since 1996, this marks a notable change. In just his second season as a coach, Eric Musselman has completely revamped the roster and has scheduled a group consisting primarily of transfers and freshmen on one of the best teams in the country.

Meanwhile, Oral Roberts will return home with a set of memories that should last a lifetime. Here are some takeaways from the end of the Eagles’ career.

A race to remember

This one will sting Oral Roberts, no doubt. The program was so close to advancing to the Elite Eight that it dropped to just inches in a last second shot. But when the dust settles, the Eagles’ two Big Dance victories will go down in history.

They joined the 2013 Florida Gulf Coast team as the only No. 15 seeds to reach the Sweet 16. An overtime victory over No. 2 seed Ohio State was an all-time surprise at the Tournament. NCAA, and a dramatic victory over No. 7 seed Florida in the second round was also a game to remember and could be the foundation for putting this program on the map.

Max Abmas is a star

As if specializing in biomedical chemistry wasn’t stressful enough, try also leading the country in scores at the same time. That’s the life of Max Abmas, and he certainly does it well. The 6-foot-1 sophomore was already well known in the Summit League. He is now known throughout college basketball.

Abmas and fellow star Kevin Obanor carved their names in NCAA Tournament tradition with heroic individual performances that propelled ORU’s career. Obanor recorded three consecutive double-doubles averaging 23.3 points in the NCAA Tournament. Abmas averaged 26.7 points during the race.

Paul Mills is on the map

Abmas and Obanor weren’t the only Oral Roberts personalities to make a name for themselves. Coach Paul Mills is now on the national radar too. He inherited an 8-win team after the 2016-17 season and led it to the Sweet 16 in four years.

Having spent 14 years on the Baylor staff as an assistant, Mills now has the right combination of success on his resume to deserve a look at a job of great importance. Or, if Abmas and Obanor plan to stay, he could remain Oral Roberts and make him a major middle power. Either way, this tournament did wonders for his career.

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