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

Friday, January 9, 2009

Centenary thoughts

My work schedule did not allow me to watch Oakland's loss to Centenary, but I did talk to Oakland coach Greg Kampe for a preview for Saturday's game at Oral Roberts. Here are some of the things he had to say about the loss.

In your mind what was the difference in the Centenary game?

I don’t know if I have an answer for that. They kicked the crap out of us. I have no idea why. At one point in the game they were shooting 70 percent from the floor and we were shooting 10 percent. I think they made 11 straight shots during the game. We played zone, we played man, we played box-and-one, we played every defense we know. We played zone probably a third of the game, not even a third of the game. We played man two-thirds of the game, then a mix of zone and box-and-one the rest of the time. Everything we had we tried and we couldn’t stop them. In the second half we started in a box-and-one and Stallings, who had 20 at halftime, only had six in the second half. We played the second half fairly even. We couldn’t guard them. We couldn’t keep them in front of us. They just went by us.

They went real small during that run they made. The game started out pretty sloppy by both teams and then Stallings made a 3 and we turned it over a couple times and gave them some transition baskets. Then they just made 10 or 11 straight shots. They just flew by us, kicked the ball around, found open guys and made shots.

At the other end we looked like we hadn’t seen a basketball court in a year. We just played terrible. I think we tried. I think we played hard. I think we tried, but I’ve been a coach a long time and I’ve never seen anything like it. I can’t offer any explanation. I don’t know what happened. I know we missed layups, we missed open shots, we made bad plays, we made stupid plays, we turned the ball over, we didn’t pass the ball very well, obviously we only had four assists the entire game, that’s unbelievable in itself. In a nutshell, I don’t know what happened. I really don’t. I wish I was smarter and I could figure it out. All I know is we were down 30 points to Centenary on the road and they beat us. They just kicked the crap out of us. They kicked the crap out of us in every category there is, except rebounding. And I would hope if your playing five guys, 6-foot-2 or less, we would at least be able to rebound.

What is your team's mindset after the tough loss and entering Oral Roberts on Saturday?

I think at this time of the year, it’s January, bad things happen, good things happen, you have to let them both go. We are not even going to watch tape from Centenary because I watched the tape after the game and there is nothing to be learned. We are just going to take that and throw it away, well we won’t throw it away, we’ll hold on to it until the next time we play them.

Oral Roberts is one of those games that we talked about the other day, it’s worth two, not one. It’s an important game. We lost to a team that didn’t have a league win. That’s not good. We got two of those losses. We got to stay on the path, stay focused on what our goals are and realize it was just one game and get ready to play Oral Roberts.

We haven’t won there since the first year we were in the league, the year we won the title outright. That was nine or 10 years ago. We haven’t won (there) since then and it’s always been something. What we have to do is defend them and we have to rebound. We have said that since Day 1 this year, we are pretty talented offensively, but we are going to be up and down because we are young.

I will say this about last night, that it was the first time all year where I saw our young kids play like young kids. A lot of it had to do with, well JJ didn’t have a very good game and Kangas was OK. Benson was 3-for-9 from the floor and he only took one jump shot, everything else was a layup. We missed point-blank shots. We missed wide-open shots. We panicked when we got in trouble. All year long, we have had bad things happen to us and we have been able to get through it. We are at Oregon and we get a bad call at the end of the game and we win in overtime. We are at Green Bay and we have 10-point lead with two and a half minutes to go and they come back, and we win overtime. We never folded. We never did anything all year that looked like a young team, which has kind of surprised me. (Thursday) we looked like a young team. We weren’t able to overcome adversity. That was a first for them. We are going to see adversity (at Oral Roberts) and we have to be able to overcome it. We have to be able to guard them and rebound. If we don’t do that we aren’t going to win.



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