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Drew Ellis covers Oakland University basketball for The Oakland Press. His news and notes keep you up to date with Golden Grizzlies men's basketball.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Loss at IUPUI not without positives

Oakland lost its first game of the conference season in the same place it lost its only Summit League game last season. The defeat at IUPUI Saturday, where coach Greg Kampe was tossed in the waning seconds for arguing with officials, is not without positives.
“This team took the loss a lot harder than the team last year,” Kampe said. “Last year, we got beat and it was like ‘Don’t worry about it. Let’s go out and win the next one and start the streak again and we did.
“They were really upset about it. They were upset because they felt there were some things that didn’t go their way. They were upset with some things that happened on the floor. They were very angry and we’ll see how they respond to that. I was glad to see them that way. They have an expectation they shouldn’t lose.”
Typically, the Golden Grizzlies expect to win on their home court, but extending that anticipation to rival courts has to make fans feel good about what’s developed in Rochester.
Kampe was ejected for the first time this season and has been a noted critic of the way Saturday’s game was officiated. Despite it all, he said the Grizzlies still had a chance to win late needing a defensive stop they didn’t get. The loss snapped their 20-game consecutive win streak in conference play.
“With everything that went wrong, we had the ball down three with a minute to go. We got probably the worst call of the game at that point and then we had to get a stop and we didn’t get it.
“We can blame the bad call, we can blame the travel and all that stuff, but when reality sets in, we had to get a stop with a minute to go in the game and we didn’t get it,” Kampe said. “To achieve perfection is very difficult, especially in our league with all the travel and all the things that can go wrong. With foul trouble, injuries and officiating, all those things can sway the outcome of a game. That’s why I never said we’d try to be perfect. If a team ever does that, that’ll be more luck than anything else. You have to be really good, but you have to be lucky, too.”
The Grizzlies (17-9, 12-1) have three consecutive home games, starting with Saturday’s televised affair with IPFW, and then a two-game road trip to end the season. Oakland has a 2 1/2 game lead over the Jaguars (9-3) and three games over IPFW (9-4). If the Grizzlies had won Saturday, they could have clinched first place in the conference as early as this Saturday. Now, that must wait.
“We’ve played the meat of our schedule,” Kampe said. “Now it’s a matter of hanging on and winning it. If we win our three home games, we’ll be league champions. I don’t see a way we wouldn’t be the No. 1 seed (in that case).”
The top two seeds to next month’s conference tournament get the benefit of a day off between the quarterfinals and semifinals. Oakland was the No. 1 seed last season on its way to its second-ever conference championship and subsequent berth in the NCAA tournament.


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