Blogs > Pemberton's Point

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

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oakland-Michigan postgame thoughts

n Right or wrong I have been critical of Oakland’s ability to allow so many 3-pointers this season. Saturday was a case where it likely looked much worse than it was. Michigan players hit several open 3-pointers in the first half, but they were from NBA range, late in the shot clock and caused by Manny Harris’ penetration. Harris is one of the leading scorers in the nation so Oakland’s defense had to collapse on him or he would make them pay. Michigan hit 9 of their first 13 3-point attempts and shot 10-for-18 in the first half. But the Wolverines were just 3-for-11 in the second half, which was caused by two things. One, Oakland playing better defensively in the second half and two, Michigan couldn’t keep it up its hot shooting.

n Keith Benson played by far the best game of his career. He was looking for his shot and active on the glass, finishing with a career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds. Benson didn’t just make a bunch of easy shots either. He made some really difficult shots and looked like he was playing with a purpose. He twice dunked on a Michigan defender and was fouled, and several times ripped rebounds right out of the Wolverines’ hands. He has the chance to be a real special player if he continues to play like he did Saturday at the Palace and did catch the eye of one NBA scout Saturday.

n This team can still accomplish its goals this season without Derick Nelson, if he is unable to play this season, but it’s tough when you imagine what they might have been able to do with him. Oakland coach Greg Kampe said that he cries himself to sleep when he thinks of what the team could have done with Nelson and just the fact that a senior had to get injured when he had hoped to accomplish so much. I talked to Nelson for a while at practice on Friday and he is really frustrated, and rightfully so. I’m sure if Kampe would have called his number, Nelson would have went out there with his boot on and in his sweat suit and did whatever he could to help Oakland beat Michigan. He’s got a great heart and it’s a shame a freak thing has caused him to miss these games he would give anything to play in. I was asked several times Saturday when he was coming back and I don’t know. I don’t think anybody knows, but hopefully it’s soon and he is 100 percent.

n Look for some extended coverage of Saturday's game in Sunday's Oakland press. There will be a column by Pat Caputo, a game story by Big Ten writer Paula Pasche and a sidebar by me.



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