Ryan Bass being rewarded for his hard work
“He’s our Vinnie Johnson,” Oakland coach Greg Kampe said referring to the former Pistons reserve guard known as “The Microwave” for his ability to heat up quickly. “He’s a guy that I would rather have off the bench, but we can’t afford to do that now. He’s going to have nights where he does this in his future because he’s very confident kid. You can’t guard him because he’s so quick.”
Bass’ numbers from beyond the arc are significant because he’s added the distance shooting to a team that already had two solid long-range threats in Travis Bader and Hamilton.
“He’ll hit a pull-up jump shot and you’ll back off him, and what he’s improved now is that he can really hit the 3,” Kampe said. “He couldn’t do that when he got here.”
Kampe also credited Bass’ defense on Buffalo sharp-shooter Zach Filzen, the Mid-American Conference leader in 3-point shooting.
Hamilton was also excited to see Bass’ work pay off.
“It’s exciting when you see guys going out there and putting in work behind the scenes and they go out there and believe in themselves and they also put on a show,” Hamilton said.
“I was able to relax out there and count on other guys and it felt good.”
Quality, not quantity
Oakland got a boost from another late-arriving crowd in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament Saturday on another beautiful March day over 70 degrees. And it was St. Patrick’s Day to boot.
“We didn’t have a large crowd today, which was a little disappointing. But it was a very vocal crowd,” Kampe said. “Our team said after the game it was a like a sold-out crowd all the noise that was going on in here.”
A reported 1,685 fans were in attendance Saturday.
“People don’t understand how that helps you when you get tired going down the stretch of a game and our crowd had a lot to do with us winning,” Kampe said.
Stops and runs
Oakland took the lead for the first time after a 15-2 run in the closing minutes of the first half. They held that lead throughout the rest of the game, but the Bulls did tie the game with 3:51 to play, threatening to become the latest team to steal a game away in the closing minuets. Then, the Grizzlies forced turnovers on two straight possessions and held the five-point lead they had amassed.
“We played a great defensive game overall, even in the first half,” Hamilton said. “They were shooting like 60 percent at one point. We clamped down and took over and that carried into the second half. We kept that same energy down to the end and capitalized on their mistakes.”
Kampe was encouraged by the defensive effort, especially over last four minutes of the first half and first four minutes of the second half.
“We were phenomenal on defense,” he said. “Our covers were great. We got misses and we played an outstanding game.”
Bass, who played 33 minutes, could feel the intensity.
“We were all communicating and that allowed us to have a great game on defense,” he said.