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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

Oakland bench even shorter without Blake Cushingberry

The Golden Grizzlies announced pregame Tuesday that Blake Cushingberry will not be with the team for the rest of the season. Without him, that makes Oakland’s bench even shorter. Oakland coach Greg Kampe used just eight players against Rochester College, including freshman Matt Poches, who just played Saturday for the first time this season. Poches got 13 minutes Tuesday, making some freshman mistakes, but Kampe insisted Poches would be fine.
“He’s supposed to get that out of him the first couple game,” Kampe said.
Ryan Bass missed his second consecutive game with concussion symptoms, but Kampe sounded optimistic the Grizzlies would have him back in time for their trip to the Dakotas at the end of the calendar year.
“Not having (Ryan) Bass Saturday at Michigan was a big deal, because he’s a kid that could guard Trey Burke,” Kampe said. “We got in trouble late in that game because we couldn’t keep Burke out of the paint and Bass could’ve done that.”
That defensive intensity wouldn’t have gone unnoticed Tuesday.
“(Rochester) isn’t used to the type of pressure we put on them,” Kampe said. “They don’t see that every day. Bass could’ve had a field day out there tonight.”
Laval Lucas-Perry played a season-high 36 minutes against Rochester, but the rest of the bench  consisted of just two players and 14 minutes and play (13 of which went to Poches).
Because Tuesday’s game was close, Oakland didn’t take its first double-digit lead until the final 10 minutes, Kampe was forced to play five players more than 30 minutes. As Kampe pointed out, that doesn’t often happen in a game against a non-Division I opponent.
Kyle Sikora earned his third consecutive did not play Tuesday. Kampe anticipates Sikora will see more minutes as Oakland faces teams with traditional big men. Sikora has played just 33 minutes this season, including a season-high 10 vs. South Dakota.
The Grizzlies’ reserves outscored Rochester, 23-7, Tuesday, but all of those points came from Lucas-Perry.
Prior to the season, Kampe touted the team’s depth, but his bench is being tested early and often.


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