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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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Grizzlies draw for big games, but get icy reception otherwise

While he appreciated the break from the road, Oakland coach Greg Kampe was unsettled by the attendance for a seven-game home stretch, except  for the Tennessee and Michigan games.
Just over 2,000 fans showed up Tuesday to the O’rena one game after the Grizzlies played in front of more than 17,000 fans at The Palace Saturday. The attendance against Tennessee was just the seventh-largest in the O’rena’s history and just the third-highest for a contest vs. a team from the so-called BCS conferences.
Oakland is 42-3 in last 45 games at home.
“It’s very seldom people walk out of here with a loss. Fans are used to winning and they expect it,” he said. “I’m gravely disappointed in the turnouts.”
Oakland has lost just three home games in each of the past three seasons inside the O’rena. Those losses came by a combined margin of five points. Ohio beat Oakland by just two last week.
“I’m disappointed we lost the Ohio game and I can see why we did lose that game,” Kampe said. “They’re a heck of a basketball team.”
The actual home games at the O’rena all broke the 2,000 mark in the 3,000-seat arena, but the largest attendance outside of the Tennessee game was 2,285 to see UMKC.
All the games at the O’rea fell on weeknights, the only Saturday contest came when the Kangaroos visited. The homestand stretched across Thanksgiving weekend, finals week and now the beginning of holiday break, notable dead periods for student social activity.
Kampe suggested the fans possibly aren’t used to having the team around so often this early in the season, as they just wrapped an unprecedented seven-game homestand.
“If I worry about that kind of stuff, I won’t be coaching basketball here,” Kampe said.  
Oakland hits the road for a game at former conference rival Valparaiso Saturday and visits Arizona Tuesday. The Grizzlies return home Dec. 23 to host Western Michigan.

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