Jon Scheyer, Jeremy Roach discuss challenge of stopping Oral Roberts star Max Abmas
Jon Scheyer and Duke will have a tough test in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament against Oral Roberts.
ORU was in the NCAA Tournament 2 years ago as a Cinderella story, making it all the way to the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed. This version of ORU is arguably even better and it’s still led by star point guard Max Abmas.
Abmas will be the focal point of Duke’s scouting report this week. He’s recognized as one of the top scorers in the country. He averaged 22.2 points per game this season while leading ORU to a 18-0 record in conference play.
Scheyer told reporters on Wednesday that he hopes Duke’s physicality will be able to bother the star guard.
“You want to make it as tough as you can on him, understanding he’s going to hit some shots,” Scheyer said. “He has deep range. He’s an automatic free-throw shooter. His passing is much improved. I don’t think it’s about stopping him. I think it’s about just being disciplined and making life as difficult as possible on him.
“We have really good individual defenders, but it can’t be just one guy. The thing I think that gets overlooked with their team is the players they have around them. You can’t just key in on him because they have other guys that can knock down shots and they have great spacing and movement, they know how to play. So a lot of respect for their offense and what they do. But of course he’s a special player.”
Duke point guard Jeremy Roach echoed similar thoughts about Abmas’ talent level. Roach also said Duke will have to use physicality and length to slow him down.
“We just have to make it tough for him,” Roach said. “I think our length will kind of bother him a little bit. But to be physical with him all game, and we know he’s going to get some buckets, but we’ve just got to make it as tough as we can for him.”
Duke enters this game on a 9-game winning streak. The Blue Devils are trying to reach the Final Four in back-to-back years for the 1st time since UNC accomplished that feat in 2016-17.
Tipoff is at 7:10 p.m. ET on Thursday night.