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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

Officiating takes Buffalo out of its game

Oakland credited its entire team defense and rebounding for helping in Saturday’s win over Buffalo. The Bulls largely credited the officiating, which sent them to the line for just four attempts, while Oakland was 20 of 24 from the line.
“One of the teams got to the free-throw line,” Buffalo coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “One obviously didn’t and that was the difference in the game.”
The bulls finished with 20 personal fouls to Oakland’s 12, as the Bulls had just one free-throw attempt in the second half.
“It’s not a good way to end the season,” Witherspoon said. “All but four teams are going to say that when the season ends. I will say this: We must have made somebody mad somewhere because we didn’t get to the free-throw line. There’s not a whole lot our guys can do about that. That’s clearly the case when you shoot four free throws the entire game.”
Mid-American Conference Player of the Year Mitchell Watt was frustrated by the officiating because it forced him to change his defensive strategy.
“We were taken out of our way of playing defense,” he said. “The fouls started from the beginning. I go straight up and a 5-11 guard falls into my waistband throwing up some junk and it’s a foul. It changes the whole way you have to play defense. You have to play with your hands off and try and contain somebody, that restricts you from playing physical defense.
“That took us out of the way we like to play hard-nosed, physical defense.”
Witherspoon did not relent when asked how Oakland would fare in the Mid-American Conference.
“If they could shoot 24 for free throws, they could win our league,” he said.
The Bulls finished in second place in the MAC East behind Akron after the regular-season battle came down to the last week of the season. MAC tournament champion Ohio was third in the East Division behind Buffalo and advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament.

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