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

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oakland routs Leathernecks

There was never any doubt in Oakland’s convincing 77-52 win at Western Illinois. The Golden Grizzlies (17-11, 10-5 Summit) jumped out to a 12-0 lead, led by nine points from senior Erik Kangas (three 3-pointers). Oakland never led by less than 10 the rest of the game and by as many as 30.

Kangas finished with 23 points and hit seven 3-pointers. The seven 3-pointers give Kangas 108 this season, one short of his school-record 109 during the 2006-07 season.

Sophomore point guard Johnathon Jones had 16 points and 10 assists. Jones has recorded double digit assists in four straight games and six of his last eight.

“He’s got (50) assists in the last four games,” Oakland coach Greg Kampe told Oakland Athletics “I don’t think there’s anybody else in the country who has that. He’s also got Kangas making shots. That kind of helps. He’s just an outstanding player. I think he’s as good as there is at the point. He had an unlike-Johnathon Jones game last Saturday, and we won anyway by double digits. I love him as a player, and I hate to think he’s only got a year and a few games left. We’ll enjoy him while we’ve got him.”

The Grizzlies defense was impressive in the first half, holding the Leathernecks (9-18, 6-10) to 29.2 percent shooting and Ceola Clark and David DuBois combined for all 20 first-half points.

“I’ve never seen that before, where only two players on a team scored in a half,” Kampe said. “I didn’t know it until we got in at halftime, and then my staff said that only two guys had scored. And then my answer to that was ‘How did that guy get to 13?’ They struggled to score. They’ve scored 70 points four times this year, and their high, 75 was against a non-Division I school. So in Division I play they’ve only scored 70 points three times. My feeling was if we could get to 75 we’re going to win. We went with our zone, which we haven’t been playing much of. We didn’t want to let (David) Nurse come off the screen and get open, or let (David) DuBois run free. If we could stop those two guys, and they’re going to get some points, but they’re not going to get to 75.”

Senior Dan Waterstradt had 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench, freshman Drew Maynard added nine points and five rebounds and Keith Benson finished with seven points and seven rebounds for Oakland.

Clark led Western Illinois with a career-high 24 points and DuBois finished with 14 points and five rebounds.

“I want to give Oakland a tremendous amount of credit,” Western Illinois head coach Jim Molinari told WIU athletics. “They were very aggressive and we lose our confidence when we can’t stop people. They hit us with three or four 3s right away and then we were struggling. I don’t want to take away from everything we’ve done because we still have a lot to play for. These games in February are going to be really tough, with tough matchups and a lot of travel. Tough players play and tonight we didn’t do that. We have to go back to the drawing board and see what we have to do different.”

Oakland can still get to 20 wins with the victory and is still fighting for the second seed despite Oral Roberts winning at Southern Utah Thursday night.

“We still have a chance to sneak into second place,” Kampe said. “We lost what I think is the best player in the league (Derick Nelson). Some people had him as the preseason player of the year, other people had (North Dakota State’s Ben) Woodside. I just think Nelson is the best player in the league, but I’m prejudiced. We lost him before the season started, and if you would have told me then that we had a chance to win 20 games, that we would have a chance for a second or third seed, I would have been skeptical.

"I’m really pleased with the progress of our team. We’re very young. Our two scholarship seniors (Erik Kangas and Dan Waterstradt) are having really good senior seasons, and I think Kangas is an outstanding player. They’ve taken it upon themselves. It would be easy for them to sit there and say ‘you know, we’ve lost this great player and we’ll wait till next year,’ except they’re not going to be here next year. Our freshmen are getting better every time we play, and that’s four in a row that we’ve won now. We still haven’t been beaten at home, so we’ve still got a lot of things we’re playing for down the stretch. We’ve got two more home games and hopefully we can finish an undefeated season at home. We need three more wins for 20 wins. If we get 20 wins, with those new postseason tournaments, we might be able to get into one of those postseason tournaments. So there’s a lot for us to play for.”

The Leathernecks remain in a tie with IPFW, which lost to IUPUI Thursday night, for eighth place. Western Illinois hosts IPFW Saturday.

“IPFW lost by two tonight so they will come in here all charged up,” Molinari said. “We have to figure out what we have to do because IPFW is a heck of a team.”



Blogger Detroit Sports Guru said...

It was a very solid win, but I am still concerned about the high turnover count. Hopefully this wont be a problem come tourny time.

February 20, 2009 at 8:40 AM 

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