Men’s basketball

Three storylines

Plenty of experience

This season’s ORU men’s basketball team does not lack experience, returning eight letter winners, including last year’s leading scorer, redshirt-senior forward Emmanuel Nzekwesi. After last season’s roster had five freshmen listed, the Golden Eagles have only one this season. That’s compared to five seniors on the roster.

Competing for The conference title

With a plethora of experience and returning their leading scorer from last season, more people outside of the ORU locker room are noticing the Golden Eagles’ chances to compete for a Summit League title. ORU was picked to finish third in the league’s preseason poll, behind North Dakota State and South Dakota. The Golden Eagles also received three first-place votes.

Starting out with the biggest game

The Golden Eagles’ biggest game of the season could be their first. ORU will start the season Wednesday with a trip to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State. Six days later, the Golden Eagles get city rival Tulsa at the Reynolds Center. Other notable opponents on ORU’s schedule include Iowa, Wichita State and BYU. ORU plays all those teams on the road and all but BYU in November.

Players to watch

Emmanuel Nzekwesi

Nzekwesi, a 6-foot-8 forward, led the Golden Eagles in scoring and rebounding last season, averaging 14.8 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. Last year’s successes were a big reason behind Nzekwesi being selected to the preseason All-Summit League first team. Nzekwesi, a redshirt senior, is also the most experienced player on ORU’s roster.

Kevin Obanor

Obanor was a standout freshman forward for the Golden Eagles last season, averaging 14.4 points a game, which was second behind Nzekwesi. Like Nzekwesi, Obanor also was selected to the preseason All-Summit League first team.

Max Abmas

Abmas is the only freshman on ORU’s roster this season but didn’t show any signs of struggling to adjust in his first collegiate action when the Golden Eagles played Central Arkansas in an exhibition game. Abmas, a 6-foot-1 guard, was ORU’s leading scorer, tallying 18 points thanks to six 3-pointers.

Schedule

Nov. 6: at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m., ESPN+

Nov. 8: Houston Baptist, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 12: at Tulsa, 7 p.m.

Nov. 15: at Iowa 7 p.m.

Nov. 19: Rogers State, 7 p.m.

Nov. 23: at Wichita State, 2 p.m.

Nov. 25: Southwestern Christian, 7 p.m.

Dec. 3: at Creighton, 7:30 p.m., FS1

Dec. 8: Haskell, 2 p.m.

Dec. 14: Central Oklahoma, 7 p.m.

Dec. 17: at Chicago State, 7 p.m.

Dec. 21: Missouri State, 1 p.m.

Dec. 28: at BYU, 8 p.m., BYUTV

Jan. 2: at South Dakota State, 8:15 p.m.

Jan. 4: at Omaha, 7 p.m.

Jan. 9: North Dakota State, 7 p.m., ESPN+

Jan. 11: North Dakota, 7 p.m., ESPN+

Jan. 16: at Western Illinois, 7 p.m.

Jan. 18: at Purdue Fort Wayne, noon

Jan. 25: at South Dakota, 3:30 p.m.

Jan. 29: South Dakota State, 7 p.m., ESPN+

Feb. 1: Denver, 7 p.m.

Feb. 6: at North Dakota, 7 p.m.

Feb. 8: at North Dakota State, 1 p.m.

Feb. 12: Omaha, 7 p.m., ESPN+

Feb. 15: South Dakota, 7 p.m., ESPN+

Feb. 20: at Denver, 8 p.m.

Feb. 27: Western Illinois, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 29: Purdue Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., ESPN+

Roster

No. Player Ht. Class Hometown

0 Kevin Obanor 6-8 So. Houston, Texas

1 Elijah Lufile 6-8 So. Milton, Ontario,

Canada

2 Deondre Burns 6-3 Sr. Yazoo City,

Missouri

3 Max Abmas 6-1 Fr. Rockwall, Texas

5 D’Mauria Jones 6-3 Jr. Los Angeles

10 Sam Kearns 6-1 Sr. San Antonio, Texas

11 Carlos Jurgens 6-5 So. Tartu, Estonia

12 R.J. Fuqua 5-11 So. Tulsa

13 Aidan Saunders 6-4 Sr. Lithonia, Georgia

14 Deshang Weaver 6-8 So. Houston

21 Ty Lazenby 6-5 Sr. Glencoe

22 Francis Lacis 6-7 So. Riga, Latvia

23 Emmanuel Nzekwesi 6-8 Sr. Trophy Club, Texas

Women’s basketball

Three storylines

Same preseason expectations

ORU is predicted to finish in fourth place in the Summit League preseason poll, the same slot the poll projected the Golden Eagles to finish last year. ORU finished one spot better in third after going 18-13. This season, South Dakota, South Dakota State and Denver were selected to finish above ORU.

Powerful names on schedule

ORU’s schedule features several recognizable names, with five Power 5 opponents slated for the Golden Eagles. ORU’s Power 5 foes are Arkansas, Kansas State, Utah, Nebraska and Oklahoma State. The Golden Eagles will face Utah, Nebraska and OSU in three consecutive games in December. All of ORU’s contests against Power 5 opponents will be away from the Mabee Center.

Familiar faces returning

The Golden Eagles return four of their five starters from last season — Keni Jo Lippe, Maya Mayberry, Rylie Torrey and Montserrat Brotons. Junior guard Katie Kirkhart also made 10 starts last year. The roster features plenty of experience with five seniors and nine returning letter winners.

Players to watch

Keni Jo Lippe

Lippe, a junior guard from Adair, was the only ORU player to receive any preseason recognition, being selected to the preseason All-Summit League second team. She was the Golden Eagles’ second-leading scorer last season, averaging 13.3 points a game during her 21 starts as a sophomore.

Maya Mayberry

Although Mayberry didn’t receive any preseason honors, she finished last season on the All-Summit League second team while starting 29 games at guard as a sophomore. Mayberry is a 3-point specialist, making 43% of her attempts last year.

Rylie Torrey

Torrey, a redshirt-senior guard, started in 23 games last year in her first season with the Golden Eagles after a long road to get to ORU. After leading Locust Grove High School to a state title, Torrey went to NOC-Enid, where she was honorable mention on the NJCAA All-America team and had the best free-throw percentage in the NJCAA, recording 54 consecutive free throws. Torrey then went to Northeastern State for a season before transferring to ORU.

Schedule

Nov. 5: Central Christian, 11 a.m.

Nov. 8: Texas State, 5 p.m.

Nov. 11: Wichita State, 7 p.m.

Nov. 14: at Arkansas, 7 p.m.

Nov. 18: at Kansas State, 6:30 p.m.

Nov. 21: at Tulsa, 7 p.m.

Nov. 23: Houston Baptist, 2 p.m.

Nov. 30: Sam Houston State, 2 p.m.

Dec. 3: at Southern Utah, Noon

Dec. 5: at Utah, 8 p.m.

Dec. 14: at Nebraska, 1 p.m.

Dec. 20: at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m.

Dec. 31: Rogers State, Noon

Jan. 2: at South Dakota State, 6 p.m.

Jan. 4: at Omaha, 2 p.m.

Jan. 8: North Dakota State, 7 p.m.

Jan. 11: North Dakota, 2 p.m.

Jan. 16: at Purdue Fort Wayne, 6 p.m.

Jan. 18: at Western Illinois, 4:30 p.m.

Jan. 26: at South Dakota, 1 p.m.

Jan. 30: Denver, 7 p.m.

Feb. 1: South Dakota State, 2 p.m.

Feb. 7: at North Dakota, 7 p.m.

Feb. 9: at North Dakota State, 1 p.m.

Feb. 13: Omaha, 7 p.m.

Feb. 15: South Dakota, 2 p.m.

Feb. 23: at Denver, 2 p.m.

Feb. 27: Western Illinois, 5 p.m.

Feb. 29: Purdue Fort Wayne, 2 p.m.

Roster

No. Name Ht. Class Hometown

1 Nena Taylor 5-8 Fr. Parsons, Kansas

3 Katie Kirkhart 5-9 Jr. Muskogee

10 Maya Mayberry 5-8 Jr. Tulsa

11 Gem Summers 5-9 Fr. Tulsa

13 Rachel Skalnik 5-8 Sr. Owasso

20 Regan Schumacher 6-2 Jr. Olathe, Kansas

21 Rylie Torrey 5-11 Sr. Locust Grove

22 Karly Gore 5-9 Fr. Taloga

23 Macy Gore 5-7 Fr. Taloga

24 Montserrat Brotons 6-4 Sr. Cocentaina, Spain

32 Sarah Garvie 5-8 Sr. Burlington

33 Keni Jo Lippe 5-9 Jr. Adair

41 Jentry Holt 6-3 Sr. Elgin

55 Raelene Eddens 5-11 Fr. Luther

Dekota Gregory

918-581-8355

dekota.gregory@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @dekotagregory

Sports Writer

Dekota covers the University of Tulsa football team and ORU men’s basketball team. An Oklahoma State University graduate, he was an intern for the Tulsa World before joining in 2019.