Upsets are always exciting, unless you are the one being upset. The No. 2 Buckeyes got a dose of the bitter taste of upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament when they fell to No. 15 Oral Roberts in overtime by a final of 75-72.
It’s a tough game to figure. Neither team shot particularly well from the field. OSU went 29 for 67 for 42 percent, Oral Roberts 25 of 7- for 35.7 percent. None of those numbers will win you many games, but Oral Roberts went 7 of 17 from three in the first half to keep themselves in the game. OSU meanwhile had a very poor shooting day from three. For the game they were five for 23 for 21.7 percent, well below their season average.
Despite the poor shooting from three the Buckeyes stayed in the game by getting the ball down low and scoring in the paint, chiefly by E.J. Liddell who led OSU in scoring with 23 points. The Buckeyes held a 40-26 edge in the paint, but it wasn’t enough to offset the scoring of Oral Robert’s forward Kevin OBanor and guard Max Abmas. OBanor scored 30 points and Abmas 29 to account for 59 of their team’s 75 points.
Neither team played particularly well on offense when you really look at the numbers, but there was one stat that more or less tells the story of the game.
Both teams came into the game very good free throw shooting teams, and during the course of the game each team went to the line 18 times. Oral Roberts converted 14 of those attempts, the Buckeyes just 10, and in a game where neither team could pull away with its offense, that was the difference. In the same number of attempts Oral Roberts outscored OSU 14-9 from the line, and in a game decided by three points, that was the difference.