What could be considered a very rough game ended spectacularly for the Golden Eagles last Thursday Feb 8, as they faced the higher-ranked North Dakota State Bison at the Mabee Center. The Bison held a marginal lead for most of the game, however the Golden Eagles fought hard and a game tying two-points from Emmanuel Nzekwezi put the game into over-time.
Overtime consisted of a rugged five minutes of basketball- the Golden Eagles had more turnovers than shot attempts and only hit one free-throw for the majority of time in play. Luckily for ORU, North Dakota State went cold as well, and couldn’t buy a shot- until the last few seconds of the game, where a very untimely 3-pointer put the Bison up by two.
With 2.2 seconds left on the clock, sophomore Javan White knew just who to inbound the ball to; senior Austin Ruder had hit five 3-pointers during regulation time.
“There were two options on that play,” said White, who had a solid game himself with 13 rebounds and 13 points, “but I knew where the ball had to go.”
Ruder hit a seemingly impossible three-pointer deep in the corner that not only won ORU the game, but sent the Mabee Center into frenzy. “Any way to extend the game– win the game –is what I wanted to do,” Ruder said, “I knew when I got the ball I had to put it up.”
This was Ruder’s first Summit League win, as he was out for the first three league wins, only to return for a 6-league game losing streak.
The Golden Eagles don’t have long to celebrate the victory, though, as they gear up to face the league-leading South Dakota State Jackrabbits Saturday Feb 10, at 7 p.m. in the Mabee Center.