Blogs > Pemberton's Point

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

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oakland-Kansas State preview

The opponent — Kansas State has nine returning players from last year’s team that reached the second round of NCAA tournament, but the nine players back had a combined 33 starts to their credit entering the season. Despite some inexperience, the Wildcats (4-0) have been impressive in their first four games, with wins over Flordia A&M, SE Missouri State, Emporia State and Cleveland State. Kansas State’s closest game has been a 10-point victory at Cleveland State, and it is averaging 83.8 points per game, while giving up just 61 per game.
The Wildcats have six players averaging in double figures. Freshman forward Jamar Samuels, who comes off the bench, leads the team at 13.3 points per game and also averages 6.5 rebounds. Sophomore guard Jacob Pullen averages 12 points and 4.5 assists, junior Denis Clemente (a transfer from Miami, Florida) averages 12 points a game and senior forward Darren Kent averages 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward Dominique Sutton (a high school teammate of Oakland’s Matt Samuels) averages 10.8 points and 6.5 rebounds and junior guard Fred Brown is scoring 10.5 points a game.

Key matchup — Oakland’s Johanthon Jones vs. Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen. Sutton is the Wildcats top defender so he could guard Jones some as could Clemente. Kansas State will undoubtedly try to slow down Jones, who is averaging 19.3 points per game. Jones will need to try to get his teammates involved so the Wildcats can’t just key on him. Pullen is also a key player in the Wildcats’ offense as a both a passer and a shooter. He has six 3-pointers this season, but has proven he can get hot quick.

Matchup history — Oakland lost its only meeting with Kansas State, 76-69, in Manhattan, Kansas back on Dec. 6, 2004. The Golden Grizzlies are 1-11 all-time against the Big 12 with their lone win being a 90-58 win over Texas A&M on Dec. 6, 2003. Kansas State is 27-3 all-time against Summit League teams, including 20-0 at home. The Wildcats have lost to Oral Roberts twice and to Southern Utah once.

The skinny — This is Oakland’s third game in three different cities in a span of six days. The Grizzlies could be a little jet lagged, while Kansas State has had a few days to rest since its win over Cleveland State on Saturday. The Wildcats have displayed a balanced offense so far this season with multiple weapons at their disposal. Oakland on the other hand has struggled to find a third-scoring option behind Jones and Erik Kangas (15.5 points per game). The Grizzlies will need a big game out of someone besides Jones and Kangas to have a chance, and to take the pressure of them.
Will Hudson had a solid game against Iowa in his first start of the year, finishing with six points and five rebounds. Keith Benson, who looked good in the Grizzlies first few games, found himself in coach Greg Kampe’s doghouse and played just 12 minutes against Iowa. Freshman Blake Cushingberry (0-for-12 on 3-point attempts this season) has struggled to find his shot this season as has senior Dan Waterstradt (2-for-10 from the field this season). Drew Maynard is averaging 5.3 points a game and is shooting 50 percent (5-for-10) from 3-point range, but is playing just 18 minutes a game and has battled foul trouble.



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