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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, January 20, 2013

Ryan Bass’ absence cited in first-half collapses

As captain Drew Valentine attempted to explain Oakland’s second straight late first-half collapse Saturday, coach Greg Kampe added that Ryan Bass was on the bench in foul trouble during both runs. The Grizzlies lost a 13-point lead at went to halftime tied in Thursday’s win over Kansas City and threw away a 14-point advantage Saturday against South Dakota before falling behind by eight points at the half in an eventual loss.
“Our point guard play when Ryan has not been on the floor has not been good enough,” Kampe said. “He’s got to learn. He’s going to sit there and he’s going to watch us blow leads and eventually, the light is going to go on in his head. Both his fouls were touch fouls 25-30 feet from the basket. Once you get one of those, you probably don’t want to pick up a second.”

Dante’s inferno
Last week, Kampe called sophomore Dante Williams an enigma because of his inability to carry over his practice persona to into game time. Williams had two 3-pointers as part of a 17-4 Oakland run which began with less than eight minutes to play and pulled the Grizzlies within nine points with 4:37 to play. Williams had six points in 10 minutes of play, his highest-scoring game since the season-opener vs. Albion when he had nine points.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Kampe said. “He makes shots in practice when he’s not on the first team.
“We’ve tried to milk him through this to gain him confidence to get him to play and I thought that was a situation he might thrive in when we were down 20 and there was no pressure. … Maybe that will give him some confidence he can break out with. He can shoot the ball and we need a guy off the bench that can score points.”
Oakland’s bench was again outscored, 31-6, Saturday, all six points coming from Williams.
Williams started the season’s first three games after starting 18 as a freshman last season. He is averaging 11.6 minutes per game this season, slightly more than his 10.1 mpg average last season and did not play in last week’s loss at North Dakota State or the following game against Kansas City Thursday. He’s averaging just 2.14 points per game this season as Oakland’s bench routinely gets handily outscored by opponents’ reserves.  
“He hasn’t be able to translate his ability to score in games, so I was really pleased to see him make those,” Kampe said.

Small ball
Coming back from down 22 points with less than eight minutes to play is improbable, but Oakland made its run Saturday, which was stunted at nine points with less than four minutes to play. Kampe credited assistant coach Saddi Washington with the idea to replace the Grizzlies’ big men with a smaller lineup.
“We had five minutes left and we were down 22, let’s give it everything we’ve got,” Kampe said. “The problem was, that team shoots free throws extremely well. … So we had to do it without fouling and I thought we did a great job.”
The Coyotes, one of the nation’s best free-throw shooting teams, was 19 of 20 from the line Saturday. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies set a season low for free throws made (seven), according to StatSheet.

Turnovers still plague Oakland
After turning the ball over 20 times Thursday vs. Kansas City, Oakland committed 18 Saturday against South Dakota.
“We don’t value the possession and we don’t value the basketball and that’s rearing its ugly head,” Kampe said. “That causes the defense to have to play in an odd-man situation. That hurt us.”
The Coyotes scored 25 points off those turnovers, the Kangaroos managed only 22 points Thursday off Oakland giveaways.

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