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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.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Not your father's Rochester College welcoming Oakland back to O'rena

Drew Maynard will be back in the O'rena
After a close loss to Western Michigan, Oakland coach Greg Kampe waxed nostalgic about cross-town “rival” Rochester College, saying the Warriors always play up for Oakland and this year’s squad is one of the best they’ve ever had.
The NAIA Warriors held a late lead over Kent State earlier this season, before notching their first win over a Division I team against Eastern Illinois Nov. 21. Now, they welcome Oakland back from a month-long, seven-game road trip Thursday at the O'rena.
Rochester has never beaten Oakland in 14 previous tries. The Warriors did take Oakland to overtime Feb. 17, 1997, a game Oakland won by just four points in the closest outing in the teams’ history.
The Golden Grizzlies have won the past five meetings by an average of 23.4 points. That number is skewed by an 11-point differential last season.
The Warriors also have former Oakland freshman phenom Drew Maynard (Lake Orion), who transferred to Rochester from Division II Valdosta (Ga.) State over the summer. The 6-foot-7, 250-pound, athletic forward is spending his final year of eligibility with a landmark Warriors team after leaving Oakland two years ago.
It’s safe to say there will be quite a bit more interest in this Oakland-Rochester meeting than many of the previous.

Cinderella lineage?
At 2-5 (now 2-6), Oakland is off to its worst start since an 0-7 beginning to 2004-05. The Grizzlies upset their way through the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament as a the seventh seed, earning their first NCAA tournament berth.
That season’s first seven games were as follows: At Xavier, at No. 5 Illinois; Marquette; at Texas A&M; at Missouri; at Kansas State; at St. Louis. Several of those seven losses were by 10 points or fewer, save for the blowout visiting the Illini. Sound familiar?
Kampe stopped short of calling that season’s schedule “stupid,” however, as he’s said of this year’s slate.
“That schedule was horrible. There were seven road games to start the season and they were all big names,” he said. “That was a tough, tough schedule.”
Oakland finished the regular season 13-19 with a 7-9 league record before that fateful conference tournament.

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