Blogs > Pemberton's Point

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

Friday, February 13, 2009

Oakland-IPFW preview

The opponent — IPFW (10-14, 5-8 Summit) won two home games last week to get back in the race to make the Summit League tournament. Eight of the 10 league members make the tournament and the Mastodons are currently tied for seventh place with Centenary and a half game ahead of Western Illinois.

Junior forward Deilvez Yearby, a transfer from Kansas State, is coming off his best game at IPFW. Yearby had 23 points, 10 rebounds and a school-record seven blocks in the Mastodons win over Oral Roberts. Yearby came off the bench, but played 36 minutes. Yearby is averaging 7.8 points and 6.0 rebounds on the season, and his 1.8 blocks per game is second in the league behind Oakland’s Keith Benson (2.2 per game).

Senior David Carson leads the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game and in conference play is seventh in the league in scoring (16.3). The former Oakland player also averages 5.5 rebounds.

Sophomore sharpshooter Ben Botts is second on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game and averages 1.8 3-pointers per game. Junior Nick Daniels (8.1 points, 1.6 3-pointers), sophomore Zach Plackmeier (7.1 points, 2.9 rebounds) and Trey McCorkle (3.9 points) round out the starting lineup. Daniels leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage (47.4 percent).

Head coach Dane Fife is a Clarkston native and the son of legendary Clarkston High School coach Dan Fife. A large group of Clarkston fans attended last year’s IPFW game and a large contingent is expected again this season.

Key matchup — Oakland’s Erik Kangas vs. IPFW’s Ben Botts. These two put on an offensive display in the last meeting between the two schools. Kangas hit a career-high eight 3-pointers and scored a career-high 39 points and Botts tied his career-high with 22 points and hit a career-high five 3-pointers. Oakland will likely try to contain Botts, while IPFW will certainly try to limit Kangas’ open looks.

Matchup history — Oakland leads the all-time series 7-3 and the Division I series is tied, 3-3. IPFW is 1-2 against the Golden Grizzlies since joining the Summit League last season. Oakland won the last meeting, 93-88, at IPFW back on Jan. 17. The two teams combined to hit 26 3-pointers and both shot over 58 percent from the field, including over 50 percent from 3-point range. Oakland’s Johnathon Jones had 20 points and eight assists and Will Hudson added 16 points and nine rebounds. Carson scored 21 points for IPFW, Daniels added 17 points and Plackmeier finished with 12 points.

“It was an offensive game,” Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. “Both teams were making everything they shot. They scored 14 points in the last minute of the game, they were at 74 with a minute to go in the game on their floor. I think that final score is a little deceptive of how the game really went. We had a comfortable lead late in the game and they made some bombs. They did a nice job of a late game situation. ... We are looking at what hurt us and trying to make sure it doesn’t hurt us again.”

The skinny — Both schools are battling for position in the Summit League standings. Oakland is trying to distance itself from the rest of the pack and is two games ahead of IUPUI for third place and two games behind Oral Roberts for second place. IPFW is battling to make the conference tournament and a win over Oakland would really boost its chances.

The Grizzlies need to establish their inside game against the smaller Mastodons. McCorkle (6-foot-10) is the only IPFW player over 6-6 that is playing significant minutes. Benson, who is averaging 20 points a game in his last five games, had just nine points in the last meeting. Oakland will likely to try to go inside to Benson and Hudson early, which will open up things for the guards.

IPFW coach Dane Fife was in a bad mood after the home loss to Oakland earlier this season and will no doubt have his team motivated to win. Kampe said IPFW will be bringing a few buses full of fans like Oakland did to the game at IPFW. The Mastodons are the closest team in the Summit League to Oakland and a rivalry could be developing.

“I hope so,” said Kampe when asked if he thought it would develop into a rivalry. (IPFW) is the closest school to us in the league. It’s one I would like to see a real good rivalry develop because rivalries are important in college basketball and our league being so spread out it’s hard. Oral Roberts is a great rivalry, but nobody can get in a car and drive to Oral Roberts. We can get in a car and drive to Fort Wayne. We are travel partners so our games are always on Saturdays. I think it’s one that could really develop. I know the administrations of both schools would like to see that.”

Click here for a feature story on Johnathon Jones.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home