Blogs > Pemberton's Point

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

Monday, March 9, 2009

Oakland-South Dakota State capsule

No. 3 Oakland (21-11) vs. No. 7 South Dakota State (13-19)
Why the Grizzlies will win: Oakland has the better inside players and will likely go to them early and often. The Grizzlies should also hold the edge on the boards with the bigger frontcourt. Oakland also has an edge at point guard with Johnathon Jones one of the best around. With Jones running the offense, the Grizzlies can put points on the board and limit their bad possessions. The big question mark is will leading scorer Erik Kangas play and if he does, how effective will he be? Kangas injured his ankle late in the win over IPFW.

Why the Jacks will win: Three words: Home court advantage. The Sioux Falls Arena will be filled to the rafters with Jacks fans, who are hungry to reach the conference championship game. SDSU has talent, but has been inconsistent, especially on the road, where it was 1-15 this season. The Jacks are also a solid perimeter shooting team and hit a school record 15 3-pointers against Oakland in Rochester earlier this season. SDSU rallied from a 17-point second half deficit to win in overtime in the last meeting, so the Jacks have confidence they can beat the Grizzlies.

Position by position breakdown
Point guard: Oakland’s Johnathon Jones (5-11, 165) vs. SDSU’s Michael Palarca (5-10, 170)
If Kangas is out or limited, look for Jones to be more offensive minded against the Jackrabbits. Jones has shown he is capable of going off for 20 or more this season when he has looked for his shot more. Jones will also be key factor in feeding post players Keith Benson and Will Hudson. Jones creates a lot of shots for those two and they didn’t get many looks while he was sitting against IPFW with three fouls last in the first half. Palarca played just eight minutes against Oral Roberts Saturday so he could see limited time again tonight. He has made five starts this season.

Shooting guard: Oakland’s Erik Kangas (6-3, 205) vs. SDSU’s Clint Sargent (6-4, 200)
Kangas status is still up in the air as of this afternoon, but my gut tells me he will at least give it a try. Just having Kangas on the floor is a plus for the Grizzlies because SDSU’s defense will have to be aware of him at all times and can’t concentrate on defending the interior. If Kangas can’t go, look for Blake Cushingberry to likely get the start. Sargent was just 3 for 11 with 12 points against Oral Roberts, but he is a key part of the Jacks offense. He averaged 14.3 points a game this season and hit 66 3-pointers in 28 games.

Wing: Oakland’s Drew Maynard (6-7, 220) vs. SDSU’s Garrett Callahan (6-1, 180)
This matchup will likely be critical. When Kangas missed a game earlier this season with an ankle injury, Maynard scored a career-high 21 points at the Las Vegas Invitational. Maynard was just 1 for 2 with two points in 17 minutes against IPFW, but will likely see more minutes and more shots if Kangas can’t go. Callahan is the Jacks leading scorer at 16.1 per game and went off for 30 against Oral Roberts on Saturday, but was 8 for 20 from the field. Callahan is a 43.2 percent shooter from 3-point range and averaged 2.5 3-pointers per game.

Power forward: Oakland’s Will Hudson (6-9 225) vs. SDSU’s Kai Williams (6-6, 220)
Hudson looked good in Sunday’s win over IPFW, scoring 15 points, grabbing eight rebounds and had three blocks. Hudson will need to be active again tonight and use his height advantage against Williams. Williams is likely the Jacks most versatile player, but has had an up and down junior season after an impressive sophomore and freshman years. Williams has the talent to do a lot of damage so he can’t be overlooked.

Center: Oakland’s Keith Benson (6-11, 225) vs. SDSU’s Anthony Cordova (6-7, 225)
This is the matchup Oakland will need to exploit if it hopes to quiet the crowd. Benson had 11 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks against IPFW, but had just five shots, hitting four. The Grizzlies have to get Benson more looks tonight. Benson will also have to stay out of foul trouble, while remaining aggressive defensively in the paint. Cordova has emerged as a solid player for the Jacks this season and is averaging 11.7 points and 6.8 rebounds this season. SDSU may try to go to him and get Benson in foul trouble.

The Jacks will likely have the edge here with Dale Moss and Griffan Callahan both productive players off the bench. Moss was 5 for 6 from the field with 10 points and six rebounds against Oral Roberts, while Callahan had four points and 11 rebounds. SDSU played Josh Cassaday (6-6) and Mark Engen (6-10) two minutes each against the Golden Eagels. The Grizzlies bench was likely the difference in its win over IPFW. Senior Dan Waterstradt hit three 3-pointer and finished with 13 points, freshman Matt Samuels had eight points in 11 minutes with Jones in foul trouble and Cushingberry had four points and four rebounds in 26 minutes. Cushingberry could be moved into the starting lineup depending on Kangas’ status.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home