Oral Roberts forward Emmanuel Nzekwesi said there’s more to Wednesday’s game than the others listed on the Golden Eagles’ schedule.
The Golden Eagles tip off their season against Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater. ORU hasn’t beaten the instate Cowboys since 2007 and lost the last matchup, in 2017, 91-48.
“We just want to show people that we’re really about winning and we’re not just a small school,” Nzekwesi said. “We’re actually out there to compete with the big schools, as well. It definitely means a little more.”
OSU endured a disappointing season last year in part because of injuries, but there’s still plenty of hope in Stillwater for a Cowboys team that was predicted to finish sixth in the Big 12 preseason poll. ORU was picked to finish third in the Summit League.
“They’ve got a good team,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said about the Golden Eagles. “I don’t know exactly where they’re picked, but I think it’s pretty high in their league. They’ve got a pretty experienced group, and they’re really good in size, so it will present us another challenge for our big guys. …
“Hopefully our depth and athleticism will give us a chance to overcome some of that.”
OSU returns all of its starters from last season. Returning seniors Thomas Dziagwa, Lindy Waters III and Cameron McGriff averaged more than 30 minutes per game last year.
The Golden Eagles return all but one starter, including Nzekwesi, who led the team in scoring (14.8 points) and rebounding (8.5 rebounds) He was selected to the preseason All-Summit League first team.
Nzekwesi is one of five seniors on ORU’s roster after last season’s team featured five freshmen. The Golden Eagles have only one freshman this year.
“I think you win with age, especially at the collegiate level,” ORU coach Paul Mills said. “To have guys who are older and more experienced helps you, especially in regards to conference play because they’ve been through it, (and) they understand. So because of that, it’s paramount at this level.”