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

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oakland wins tough road game

Two days after a disappointing 2-for-16 performance against Cleveland State, Oakland point guard Johnathon Jones showed why he is a preseason mid-major All-American in a 82-79 overtime win at Oregon late Monday night.
Jones had 32 points on 13-for-23 shooting and scored the biggest hoop of the game, a jumper from the corner with eight seconds left in overtime that put the Grizzlies up two possessions, 82-77.
“We couldn’t do anything with Jones,” Oregon coach Ernie Kent told the Register-Guard. “Other than him, it was a pretty evenly played game, but he did a terrific job.
“We just had no answers to be able to shut him down. It seemed like every time they needed a bucket, he was the guy hitting big shot after big shot after big shot.”
Jones also played a key role defensively, guarding Oregon’s Tajuan Porter (Detroit Renaissance) as Oakland played a box-and-one defense. Porter shot 3-for-5 with three 3-pointers in the first half, but in the second half and overtime, Porter shot 1-for-4. He finished with 17 points.
“(Jones) can play anywhere in the country," Oakland head coach Greg Kampe told Oakland Athletics. “He proved it on a Pac-10 floor, and one of the hardest places to play in the country. JJ was the best player on the court tonight.”
Porter, who played against Jones in high school, told The Oregonian Jones has really improved since their high school battles.
“There was no stopping him,” Porter said. “There was nothing we could do really. He just hit shots. Ain’t too much else I can say about that.”
Jones said he didn’t do anything different Monday than he did against Cleveland State.
“Same shots (as Monday), they just went in,” Jones told the Register-Guard.
The home loss ended Oregon’s streak of 16 consecutive non-conference victories at home. The Ducks had not lost a home non-conference game since Portland State beat them back on Dec. 27, 2005. Oregon was 11-1 at home last season.
The win should boost the confidence of Oakland’s freshman, who have been forced to play more minutes with Derick Nelson out.
“We had to learn how to win,” Kampe told Oakland Athletics. “When Derick (Nelson) got hurt, we became a young team. We had two freshmen, three freshmen, four freshmen on the floor at one time, and they have to learn how to win. This is going to go a long way to make us a good team.”
Freshman Blake Cushingberry started his second straight game and finished with nine points and five rebounds, and hit two pressure-packed free throws to put Oakland up three, 68-65, with 21 seconds left in the second half. The free throws proved to be huge when Porter was fouled shooting a 3-pointer on Oregon’s next possession and made all three to tie the game with five seconds left.
Junior Erik Kangas finished with 18 points and hit three free throws with 33 seconds left in the second half to put Oakland up, 66-65. Sophomore Keith Benson had 10 points and eight rebounds, but fouled out with 4:09 left in the second half.
Freshman Drew Maynard had six points and four rebounds, freshman Matt Samuels scored his first two points as a Grizzly and freshman Ilija Milutinovic saw his first action of the young season, playing seven minutes.



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