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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.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Oakland plays big, battles on boards in CIT victory over Buffalo

Two things especially concerned Oakland coach Greg Kampe on the eve of Saturday’s second round Tournament matchup with Buffalo: The Bulls’ rebounding, and their two first-team all Mid-American forwards Mitchell Watt and Javon McCrea.
The Bulls, fourth in the nation in rebounding at more than 40 per game, did win the battle of the boards, 34-30, but the advantage was slight enough as not to affect the overall outcome.
Mitchell was held to 10 points after scoring eight in the first half. McCrea had just eight points total after a two-point first half.
“(Our effort) was outstanding,” Kampe said. “They got a couple easy ones when we were tired and (Drew) Valentine got caught behind a couple times. We double-teamed hard, that’s why they got some open looks early and hit some shots. We knew that would have a wearing effect. After 40 minutes, a guy who’s usually a 21-percent 3-point shooter is going to do that. He’s going to make a couple, but usually you want them to do that because they’ll keep shooting.”
Kampe said the key to success was simple repetition.  
“The wear-down effect worked,” he said. “(Travis) Bader was outstanding in his ability to double the post. Valentine and (Corey) Petros really did a nice job. Petros did a great job on (Watt). He only scored two points in the second half and it was a left-handed fadeaway hook late in the game.
Watt and Buffalo coach Reggie Witherspoon had another idea why the Bulls played the way they did, and it centered mostly around the officiating and the fact Buffalo was awarded just four free-throw attempts.

Reservations for zero
Not only did Oakland’s bench contribute zero points Saturday, Kyle Sikora, Laval Lucas-Perry and Dante Williams collectively didn’t make a shot attempt.
“I think this is the first time I’ve ever coached a game where we didn’t get any scoring from the bench and not even got a shot attempt,” said Kampe, in his 28th year at Oakland.  
Kampe expects more from his reserves Tuesday.
“I went with my starters and I used my timeouts to rest them,” he said. “I didn’t need to substitute, so I didn’t play him. We’re not going to be able to do that every night, so we need Kyle on Tuesday and we’re going to need Laval."
Being in the postseason, Kampe felt compelled to coach as if there were no tomorrow.
“You don’t want to live that life, but we had to do that tonight to win,” he said. “Buffalo is a very good basketball team.”
The Bulls entered the game with an RPI of 79, while the Grizzlies’ was 142. It was just Oakland’s third win over a top-100 RPI team, bringing the Grizzlies’ record to 3-8 this season in such games.


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