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

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oakland-IUPUI preview

The opponent — IUPUI (9-9, 2-5 Summit) enters Thursday's game on a four-game losing streak and lost two at home last week, one on a buzzer-beater to Centenary. The losing streak has left the Jaguars in a three-way tie for last place in the Summit League and desperate for a win. The four-game losing streak in conference play is IUPUI’s first since the 1999-2000 season. Head coach Ron Hunter has guided the team to seven consecutive seasons with a .500 or better record.

Freshman Alex Young is the team's leading scorer at 12.8 points per game, but has struggled recently. Young scored in double figures in 14 consecutive games to start the year, but has failed to do so in three of his last four. He came off the bench for the second time this season in the loss to Centenary.

Junior college transfer Robert Glenn (6-foot-7, 195) has really come on as of late and has proved to be a huge addition for the Jaguars. Glenn averages 12.2 points and 5.4 rebounds (16.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in league play). Glenn has led the team in scoring and rebounding in four of its last six games.

Senior guard Gary Patterson is one of two starters back from last year’s team that won 26 games. Patterson’s numbers are down from last year. His scoring is down to 9.9 per game from 12.9 last year and he is hitting 1.8 3-pointers a game this year, down from his 2.8 last year. But Patterson's assists are up to 3.4 compared to 2.6 last year and he is still shooting 42 percent from 3-point range.

Junior forward Billy Pettiford (6.1 points, 6.2 rebounds) is the other returning starter and only IUPUI players to start all 18 games this season. Sophomore guard Leroy Nobles (9.0 points, 3.8 rebounds), junior forward Jon Avery (8.1 points, 6.0 rebounds) and John Ashworth (4.2 points) have all started over seven games for the Jaguars, who have used nine different starting lineups this year.

Key matchup — Oakland’s Will Hudson vs. IUPUI's Robert Glenn. Hudson is coming off his best game of the season a 16-point, nine rebound performance at IPFW. Hudson's 67.6 field goal percentage in league play is the best in the conference and he is eighth in offensive rebounds (2.6 per game). Hudson will have to help keep Glenn (whose 3.1 offensive rebounds per game in league play is third in the league) off the offensive glass. Glenn is averaging 16.3 points a game in league play and has been the Jaguars most consistent player during their four-game skid. If Hudson can stay out of foul trouble and help contain Glenn then IUPUI will have to rely on its struggling perimeter players to win the game.

Matchup history — Oakland leads the overall series 17-12 and is 11-3 at home. The Grizzlies and IUPUI split their regular-season meetings. IUPUI defeated Oakland, 80-65, in the Summit League tournament semifinals before falling in the championship game to Oral Roberts. IUPUI junior George Hill (a first-round NBA draft pick, who is now with the San Antonio Spurs) had 32 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in the tournament game. The Grizzlies won the meeting at the O’Rena last year, 84-69, led by 19 points from Derick Nelson and 15 points and seven assists from Johnathon Jones. The Jaguars won the meeting in Indianapolis, 82-69.

The skinny — The game will be a matchup of wills. Oakland’s will to stay in the league race and protect its homecourt vs. IUPUI’s will to end its losing streak and pull itself out of the league cellar. The Grizzlies must play better defensively than it did at IPFW, where their offense won the game. The Jaguars aren’t a strong perimeter team, shooting 31.3 percent from 3-point range as a team and doesn’t have one player averaging two 3-pointers a game, but teams have seem to find their shooting stroke against the Grizzlies this season. Case in point was IPFW’s Ben Botts scoring 22 points against Oakland after being held scoreless the previous game at Centenary.

Offensivley, Oakland will once again need senior Erik Kangas and junior Johnathon Jones to carry the load and hopefully being at home will help freshman Drew Maynard and Blake Cushingberry build some confidence as the second-half of league play approachs. The frontcourt duo of Keith Benson and Will Hudson has shown flashes of being dominant and should continue to build on their success in this two-game homestand.



Blogger Detroit Sports Guru said...

should be a great game! Looking forward to attending it tonight!

January 22, 2009 at 8:30 AM 
Anonymous Heather said...

I'm glad to see we aren't the only ones to lose to Centenary. Tonight should be a great game..I can't wait!

January 22, 2009 at 3:16 PM 
Blogger Dave Pemberton said...

Detroit Sports Guru,

Saw your report from the game on your blog. Good stuff, keep it up.

January 23, 2009 at 10:58 AM 
Blogger Dave Pemberton said...


Centenary is a hot team right now. The Gents look to be a team that has to be respected right now.

January 23, 2009 at 10:59 AM 

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