McFeely blog: Bison men must slow Abmsas, ORU’s top-scoring show in key Summit League game – InForum

FARGO — Max Abmsas has been shown to be human, as opposed to the usual superhuman, a few times recently. Once was against North Dakota State. The Bisons are hoping to repeat their success against one of the country’s leading scorers tonight.

Abmsas (pronounced ACE-mas) and his team Oral Roberts take on NDSU tonight at Scheels Center in a major Summit League season-ending contest. The Golden Eagles are 11-3 in the conference, holding second place behind South Dakota State (14-0). The Bisons are 11-4 and looking to overtake ORU for second place.

While the home angle is the final two home games for NDSU seniors Rocky Kreuser, Sam Griesel and Tyree Eady, Abmsas will be the center of attention for the Bison.

The 6-foot junior guard is fifth in NCAA Division I with 22.8 points per game. Abmsas is second in the nation in 3-point field goals (99 of 243) and 3-pointers per game (4.12). He ranks third in 3-point field goal attempts.

“He’s talented, probably one of four or five guys in the league that you have to plan a game for individually,” NDSU coach Dave Richman said.

The Bisons will look to replicate their defensive effort against Abmsas in a 72-71 win at Tulsa last month. Abmsas was 7 of 24 from the field, including 2 of 13 on 3-point shots.

The Golden Eagles are averaging 84 points per game, trailing only SDSU in the Summit League, so their 72-point output against the Bison was unusually low. Part of the difference could be attributed to Abmsas’ shooting and 18-point play.

Abmsas started Game 1 of 11 beyond the boards. His 3-pointer from the right wing with 8 seconds left gave ORU a 71-70 before Griesel hit a running shot with :01 remaining to hand the Bison the win. Long 3 from Abmsas at the missed buzzer.

When asked how the Bisons were going to slow down Abmsas for the second time, Richman joked that he wasn’t going to reveal his game plan.

“It’s no secret. Number 1, he’s going to hit a few of them and you’re going to have to be able to… miss some of the tougher ones,” Richman said. “Now we felt like we made some adjustments to the ball screen on how we protect him versus how we protect other guys in the league. The other thing is also, you just hope you hold him in. He’s gonna get some points, you just hope you turn him into a volume guy.

Abmsas was the nation’s top scorer a season ago, scoring 24.5 points per game for a team that made a surprise run to win the Summit League tournament and then became the darling of the NCAA tournament by qualifying for the Sweet Sixteen.

Another key part of this team, big man Kevin Obanor, transferred to Texas Tech and his absence has been evident this season. But Abmsas continues to score on a breathtaking clip.

“It’s all to his credit, he just continues to develop and validate what he did last year and back it up and still hit those hard shots,” Richman said. “I always go back to last year when you watch it on video, researching it. ‘Is this real?’ And then he walks into the gym and hits a 30 footer and pretty soon you realize it’s real.”

ORU lost a home game to Western Illinois two weeks ago, a surprise result that put the Bison back in the discussion for a second seed in the league tournament. The final score was 90-85 in favor of the Leathernecks, but that doesn’t tell the story.

The Golden Eagles trailed 45-22 at halftime and Abmsas was scoreless going 0-6 from the floor.

In the second half, Abmsas came out. He scored 33 of ORU’s 63 points, but Western Illinois was able to withstand the onslaught. It was Abmsas’ fifth game with 30 or more points and his third-highest single-game total of the season behind two 38-point affairs.

So maybe it’s more accurate to say that he looked human for half of this contest.

Eady will likely draw the defensive duty against Abmsas tonight for NDSU. He was asked to use a word to describe what it’s like to guard the sniper.

He used three.

“A long night,” Eady said. “A guy like that, you can’t stop him, you can try to contain him. We’re going to do our best. We’re going to watch a movie and do what we can.”