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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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Uniform change spurs Oakland to victory

There has been a mixed reaction to the Grizzlies’ alternate gray uniforms they’ve worn a handful of times (personally, I like them even though they don’t incorporate the black and gold Oakland is known for). Regardless, coach Greg Kampe likes the message the unis bring along with them, opting for them for the third time this season Saturday against IUPUI. As you may have heard by now, the Grizzlies broke a six-game losing streak in emphatic fashion with a 93-81 win.
“The whole thing was ‘we’re wearing gray tonight,' ” he said. “'We have to win tonight. This has to be changed.’ We payed it like it was a ‘gray’ game. I’m very pleased with what I saw. It wasn’t a one-point win where the other team played terrible. We played tonight like we did in November, and that was a good sign.”
The Grizzlies shot better and played with swagger that’s been on layaway since before the holiday season. They’re now 2-1 in gray this season after a win over Tennessee and a loss to Michigan. Saturday was the first time they’ve worn the alternate uniforms, introduced last season, during a league (and untelevised) game. They wore the grays last season vs. Michigan State at The Palace among other games, going 2-2 with the new alternates. 
“We played with confidence on offense I haven’t seen in a month,” Kampe said about his team, which shot better than 50 percent from the floor for just the second time this season. The Grizzlies also snapped a seven-game streak of allowing opponents to shoot 50 percent or better. Guard Reggie Hamilton was in line with Kampe, saying the Grizzlies need to have the same kind of vigor at the conference tournament.
“A win is a win,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about. It’s good to have that swagger back, but it’s all about March, though.”

Growing pains: “I thought we’d have some early, but when you’re Oakland, nobody expects you to lose at home,” Kampe said following Saturday’s victory. “And you don’t expect to lose three in a row at home. We’ve lost four in the O’rena this year. You never expect something like that. We have too proud of a tradition and too proud of a program to think something like this could happen. But it did. You accept it and you battle your way out of it. And that’s what we did. Now, we want to take the next step forward.”

Team rebounding: “In the last two weeks, we haven’t gotten any rebounds, because they haven’t missed,” Kampe said. “Never in my life have I seen numbers like what teams are putting up against us. You could go in the gym without a defense and not put those numbers up. We didn’t rebound very well in the first half, but that was our one weak point. We shored that up in the second half.
“You’ve got to have help from everywhere and we had that tonight.”
The Grizzlies had seven of nine players with a rebound, four which had six or more. They outrebounded the Jaguars, 40-33, and are now 7-3 this season when winning on the glass.

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