Blogs > Pemberton's Point

Inside look at high school and Oakland University sports from Oakland Press sports writer Dave Pemberton.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Oakland-Delaware State postgame thoughts

Oakland snapped a three-game losing streak Friday night with a 75-70 win over Delaware State in the Las Vegas Invitational. The Golden Grizzlies (2-4) won despite losing senior Erik Kangas to an ankle injury in practice Thursday.

Coach Greg Kampe said he was unsure how long Kangas would be out, but was hopeful he could play Tuesday at Southern Utah.

Freshmen Drew Maynard (21 points) and Blake Cushingberry (11 points) both scored their career highs in the win. Maynard made his first start of the season and got going early scoring Oakland’s first five points and 14 in the first half.

“I got a couple open looks early and I hit. It felt good,” Maynard said. “We got a big win after being down nine points at half. We came out did the right thing, battled through adversity and pulled it off so it felt good.”

The Grizzlies outscored Delaware State 42-28 in the second half after allowing the Hornets, who came into the game averaging 51.6 points game, to score 42 points in the first half and hit eight 3-pointers.

Oakland switched to a man-to-man defense in the second half despite not practicing it all season. The switch worked as the Hornets shot 37 percent in the second half.

The improved defense and the inspired play by Dan Waterstradt (10 points in the second half) were the two keys to the win.

“I think Waterstradt was the MVP, if I had a game ball to give,” Kampe said. “He came out strong to start the second half and he had really been struggling with his jump shot. He came out to start the second half banging down a couple shots and was very emotional, and we started playing. We played an outstanding second half, we really did.”

The win gives Oakland a chance to salvage its current 15-day, seven-game road trip after losing its first three.

“It says a lot about the leadership we have on the team,” Waterstradt said about winning without Kangas and Nelson. “(Johnathon Jones) and Kangas helping out on the bench with the coaches. And a lot about our young guys. I told them after the game that I was really proud of them. Drew Maynard stepped up huge. Blake Cushingberry hit a few shots when we were missing a couple, and he knocked them down. He just helped us out because they keyed in on JJ and didn’t let him touch the ball really. It says a lot about this team to face adversity in the first half. We played good defensively, we got out of our main defense and got out after a team that we felt we were better than. It was a good thing.”

Oakland will play Southeast Missouri State Saturday at 5 p.m. in the lower-bracket championship game of the Las Vegas Invitational.

Check Saturday for a complete game story.

My thoughts on the game
g Oakland had every reason in the book to throw in the towel in the second half, but did just the opposite. This team has a lot of pride and displayed it in the second half.
Maynard and Cushingberry are two huge parts of the team with Nelson out and even more so if Kangas misses an extended period of time.
It was just a matter of time before Cushingberry hit a few 3-pointers after shooting 0-for-16 in Oakland’s first five games. A lot was put on the freshman shoulders with the injury to Nelson and maybe coming off the bench relieved some of the pressure or motivated him. Only Cushingberry could answer that, but his 3-pointer with 2:31 left in the second half was the shot of the game.
g Oakland needs to get used to teams game-planning on stopping Johnathon Jones and punish teams that choose to double team him.
Having Keith Benson back on track would be a huge boost. He had 15 points and six rebounds in the win. But Will Hudson was quiet with four points and two rebounds.
Oakland has been unable to get a good performance out both of Benson and Hudson.
Up and downs are to be expected with young big guys, but if those two really getting going with consistency the sky is the limit for Oakland.
g In my opinion the Grizzlies may need to scrap the zone defense against teams with shooters like UMKC and North Dakota State. Oakland is giving up 9.3 3-pointers a game in its first six games. With the team’s athleticism, playing man-to-man against Summit League opponents might be the way to go.
Kampe won’t scrap the zone and rightfully so, but it’s just a thought heading into league play next week.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home