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

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Oakland-Southern Utah thoughts

A few people have asked for my thoughts on Oakland’s loss to Southern Utah and while it’s hard for me to comment on a game I didn’t see (still waiting to find out if it will be available on-demand), here are some things that standout looking at the box score.

The first major thing is the Golden Grizzlies really struggled defensively. Oakland allowed a Southern Utah team that was averaging 65.4 points a game and shooting 43 percent from the field to score 82 points and shoot 54.5 percent.

Also the Thunderbirds had made just 10 3-pointers all season, but made five in the first half against Oakland, shooting 5-for-10. The Grizzlies did limit their attempts in the second half, with SUU going 1-for-2, but part of that could be the Thunderbirds having a lead.

It also appears, based on the comments from Southern Utah coach Roger Reid, that the Thunderbirds were prepared for Oakland’s zone defense and found ways to exploit.

"We watched three films and I thought our players really exploited what they try and do in the zone,” Reid told the Spectrum. "We executed well. I don't think I've coached a team that executed better against a zone. We've come a long way from the first team that zoned us."

"We knew what they were doing," said Tyler Quinney, who scored a career-high 35 points. "We took home our scouting reports and studied them."

Quinney also had nine rebounds, shot 11-for-16 from the field and shot 13-for-15 from the free-throw line.

“I don't think Tyler Quinney has played any better," Southern Utah coach Roger Reid told the Spectrum. "That is a yeoman's work and tremendous effort. (Him playing two 40-minute games) shows great courage and pride."

Quinney’s fellow big man John Clifford added 12 points and nine rebounds, which indicates Oakland struggled to guard inside. The Thunderbirds scored 32 points in the paint and Will Hudson played just 12 minutes and fouled out.

The Thunderbirds’ Davis Baker added 22 points and hit three 3-pointers, despite hitting just five in the teams’ first five games.

Offensively, the Grizzlies got solid contributions from freshman Drew Maynard and Blake Cushingberry. Maynard finished with 17 points and four rebounds, but had five turnovers and now has 21 turnovers in his last four games. Cushingberry added 14 points and hit Oakland’s only three 3-pointers of the game.

Senior Erik Kangas’ streak of 31 straight games with at least one 3-pointer came to an end. He finished with five points and played 40 minutes on what can’t be a fully-healed ankle. Kangas was defended by Southern Utah’s Dave Marek the entire game.

"Dave did a great job on Kangas. He could not get a shot up," Quinney told the Specturm. "When you frustrate a player, it's fun."

Reid addd: "Kangas is a tremendous shooter. I told (Dave) before the game, 'If you do the job on him, we'll win the game.'"

Junior guard Johnathon Jones added 16 points and six assists in 39 minutes, but even Jones has to be getting tired. He has sat out a grand total of 11 minutes in eight games this season and speed is a big part of his game.

"Our coaches were really focused on him," Davis said of Jones. "We scouted them really well. We knew every play."

Shooting 13-for-21 from the free throw line is also a concern, but it didn’t matter in this loss.

To sum things up, this is a bad loss for the Grizzlies. Losing at Southern Utah is one thing, losing by 16 is another. Oakland has to respond against UMKC on Thursday. The league race could be wide-open this year, but an 0-2 start will be hard to comeback from.



Blogger Gary said...

The more I read about SUU the more this loss hurts. Wow! I'm still in denial. Am I dreaming? Someone please wake me up! Also, on the broadcast it looked like they had 200 people at the game. They announced the attendance at over 2,000. No way. I hear they have a group out there called the "Tipsy Team". They research about the team and heckle behind the visitors bench. Some teams have complained to the school already this year. There may be some good stories from the guys on your next Grizz Talk. Just a thought. Someone please wake me up!!!!!!!!!!!

December 3, 2008 at 3:24 PM 

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