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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.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Grizzlies holding, then folding in second half

Thursday’s halftime tie was just the first time in seven games, the last being non-Division I opponent Rochester College, the Golden Grizzlies didn’t trail at the half. They have trailed by as little as two (twice) and as many as 20 at North Dakota State.
The Grizzlies have only outscored one opponent in the second half during this stretch, going plus three vs. Western Michigan in a 15-point loss at the O’rena. They are negative 35 in second-half scoring otherwise.
Oakland coach Greg Kampe acknowledged the his young squad has been a first-half team during its six-game losing streak.
“The other night we scored, but we gave up (more points than we scored),” Oakland coach Greg Kampe said about Tuesday’s loss to Oral Roberts. “We need to get stops. We have a goal to get four stops every half. Obviously, we’re not reaching that goal or even getting close to it.”
The Grizzlies scored 54 second-half points against the Golden Eagles. But in turn, Oakland allowed 57 points, the most it’s surrendered in a half this season.
Kampe said the Grizzlies defended well in the first half, holding the Leathernecks to 55-percent shooting from the floor.
Oakland led twice in the first half, but never in the second, as Western Illinois went ahead by seven with 10:18 to play. The Leathernecks’ stretched their lead to double digits with less than four minutes to play.
Thursday was the second time this season the Grizzlies have been tied at half, the other coming Dec. 10 against Michigan at The Palace.
Kampe wasn’t quick to judge his reformed starting lineup, which featured Ryan Bass and Kyle Sikora both for the first time, and reinserted freshman Dante Williams after five games coming off the bench.
“We didn’t start the second half very well and that worries me,” Kampe said. “We might need one more scorer out there to start the second half. You can’t judge that on one game.”
The three new starters combined for just five points with Bass getting the most minutes, 25. Sikora was on the floor for just 13 minutes, scoring three points.  
“He just needs minutes,” Kampe said “If you look back to Will Hudson and Keith Benson, those guys when they were freshmen, Sikora’s numbers are very similar to Benson’s and Petros’ are to Will. And Petros’ numbers are way better. Hudson and Benson had veteran players around them. They weren’t playing with freshmen like these guys are. That might be a reason Petros’ numbers are better than those guys.
“It’s a learning process and these guys have to play minutes.”
Bass, statistically, had his worst performance since returning from a five-game absence, going scoreless, committing four fouls and as many turnovers to just one assist. His intensity from the opening tip didn’t go unnoticed. He remained upbeat following the game.
“I just have to keep bringing it and encouraging the guys to have an impact,” Bass said.  
It’s uncertain we’ll see the same starting five Saturday against IUPUI, but Kampe has gone at least four games with each of his previous three lineups.

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