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

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Oakland-NDSU thoughts

Oakland’s win over North Dakota State is a huge victory for a number of reasons, but here are three that I think are the biggest.

1. The Golden Grizzlies were able to protect their homecourt despite having a limited Erik Kangas. Like Oakland coach Greg Kampe said after the game, the bench won Oakland this game. Drew Maynard had 15 points, four rebounds and three assists and Will Hudson had 11 points and six rebounds. Freshman Blake Cushingberry also played well, finishing with nine points. With Derick Nelson now out for the season these young guys are going to have to continue to come through and they did against one of the premier teams in the league.

2. Kampe can now go to a man-to-man defense with more confidence. Whether or not North Dakota State is the best team in the league remains to be seen, but it has a great offense and the Grizzlies played man defense on them for three quarters of the game. Kampe said he wanted to play the zone as long as he could, but knew it wouldn’t last against a great shooting team like the Bison. But now the team has a little more confidence in its man defense. It did create some matchup problems, in particular having Will Hudson or Dan Waterstradt try to keep up with 6-foot-6 Brett Winkelman, but Winkelman scored 16 or so points against the zone.

3. Kampe put it best when he said Friday night’s win was basically worth two games because it gives Oakland a win and gives NDSU a loss. Kangas’ game-winning shot could prove to be the one that won them a championship or it might not matter either way. There is still a lot of basketball to be played and while the team should be excited about the win they have to remain focused. There is 14 league games left and three tough ones coming up. Centenary will be playing its first home game of the season and is desperate for a win. Oral Roberts is still one of the league contenders and in the Summit League poll was voted the favorite, winning at the Mabee Center will not be an easy task. And finally Oakland plays at IPFW, which put up a 100 points against South Dakota State Friday and won by 34.

Other thoughts
n I was impressed by the crowd Friday night and on New Year’s Eve. I got to the game on New Year’s Eve and it looked like it was going to be a morgue, but a lot of people showed up. Friday’s game was also impressive considering the students are still gone and it was the day after New Year’s. Kampe even commented about the crowds being good the past two games at the press conference. I know the Grizz Gang has a bus going down to IPFW. I believe its for the first 200 that sign up, I’ll be interested to see how fast it fills up.

n Just when I think Kangas can’t possibly impress me anymore with a clutch shot, he finds a way. Just being in the game looked painful for him, but to have the confidence to take that shot when you were 0-for-4 on 3-point attempts in the game and on a cramped leg is unbelievable. People likely wonder how he got open, but as Kampe pointed out, Benson set a great screen. Benson deserves credit for the screen, especially considering the dumb foul he committed to put Ben Woodside on the line. Benson played a great game up to that point and thanks to his screen and Kangas’ shot nobody is talking about the foul, which is a good thing.

n Brett Winkelman really impressed me. The guy is just tough to guard. If you put a big guy on him he will use his speed to get to the basket. If you put a guard on him, he can post them up. And he has a nice outside shot. Apparently he was playing with some type of stomach virus and just a piece of toast to eat all day. That's a scary thought.



Blogger Gary said...


Liked seeing the man to man defense.

Crowd was decent but really should be sold out. That level of entertainment for not a lot of money is great! If you haven't gone to the O'Rena yet, what are you waiting for? Highly recommeneded.

January 3, 2009 at 1:03 PM 
Blogger Garry said...

Dave ... I enjoy following your blog ... for long-time Grizzly nee Pioneer fans, Friday night's victory was sweet ... thanks for the insider information ... it would be interesting to find out whether some former OU stars are playing ... Rawle Marshall, Mike Helms, Calvin Wooten ... where are Jason Rozycki and Brad Buddenborg? And a name from the past: Matt McClellan?

January 3, 2009 at 1:22 PM 
Anonymous Ryan said...

NDSU and OU look pretty evenly matched to me. NDSU might be a little deeper and have more room for an injury, but you have to like OU's top 6 players. D did a good job on Woodside, seemed like he got few open 3 opportunites. But at certain times the OU defense was very slow at getting out to NDSU's shooters.

Something tells me the Jan.29th matchup won't be the last for these two this season.

January 3, 2009 at 8:15 PM 
Blogger wael said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 4, 2009 at 12:28 AM 
Blogger Dave Pemberton said...


I think there will be more fans once school is back in session and I think the team will have to play more man to be successful. The zone is effective at times, but can't be there only defense.

January 5, 2009 at 2:05 PM 
Blogger Dave Pemberton said...


Rawle Marshall plays for Sibona in Croatia. He got into an on-court fight a few weeks back.

Calvin Wooten actually just signed with Telemotive Muenchen in Germany

Not sure what Mike Helms or the others are up to. I would have to do a little more research.

January 5, 2009 at 2:09 PM 
Blogger Dave Pemberton said...


Oakland and NDSU did look pretty evenly matched and have had three really exciting games over the past two years. I expect the same on Jan. 29 and like you said possibly in the conference tournament.

January 5, 2009 at 2:10 PM 

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