Cinderella’s alive and well: 15 seed Oral Roberts tops 7 seed Florida to advance to the Sweet 16

Big Tournament

Oral Roberts guard Max Abmas, left, tries to steal the ball from Florida guard Tyree Appleby during the second half of a college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Sunday, March 21, 2021 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Oral Roberts pulled off yet another upset to become just the second No. 15 seed in NCAA Tournament history to advance to the round of 16 with an 81-78 victory over Florida on Sunday night.

Kevin Obanor and Max Abams carried the Golden Eagles out of an 11-point deficit to knock off No. 7 seed Florida. Oral Roberts, which opened the tournament with a stunning upset over No. 2 seed Ohio State, will next try to knock off No. 3 seed Arkansas next weekend.

Obanor scored 28 points and Abmas, the regular season national leading scorer, finished with 26 as the Golden Eagles (18-10) closed the game on a 25-11 run to overcome the 11-point lead Florida held with less than 10 minutes remaining.

Oral Roberts joins Florida Gulf Coast — those guys from Dunk City — as the only No. 15 seeds to reach the round of 16 in tournament history.

The Oral Roberts fans inside Indiana Famers Coliseum chanted “Cinderella” during a wild celebration after the victory.

The chance to reach the Sweet 16 was a message hammered home by coach Paul Mills after the opening round victory over Ohio State. If they enjoyed beating the Buckeyes, Mills said, a week reveling in moving onto the next round would be even better.

They’ll get that chance.

Oral Roberts took a 77-76 lead — its first lead since late in the first half — on Obanor’s basket with less than 3 minutes remaining. Noah Locke answered for the Gators, but DeShang Weaver, who missed his first five shots, hit an open 3-pointer for an 80-78 lead with 2:08 remaining.

Florida had chance but failed to get good shots on its final few possessions. The Gators had a pair of turnovers, Locke missed a corner 3-pointer and after Obanor split free throws, difficult 3-point attempts by Tre Mann and Scottie Lewis were off line.

Mann led the Gators (15-10) with 19 points, but went quiet late in the second half, failing to score over the final 17 minutes.

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