The Golden Grizzlies (2-4) continued their road tripin the first half of the season, facing the nationally ranked Spartans (4-1) in front of a packed Breslin Center.
“We did not play very good basketball,” Oakland Head Coach Greg Kampe said following the defeat. “I said to Tom after the game, and I think he agreed, that was probably the worst-played Oakland-Michigan State basketball game in the series since we moved to Division I.”
Redshirt junior Duke Mondy stepped up in the showing, scoring 16 points for the Golden Grizzlies. Mondy shot 6-20 in the paint and 1-6 from beyond the arc.
Center Corey Petros led Oakland for much of the game, scoring 14 points and recording nine rebounds.
The first half of the game saw both teams start very slowly, with the first 10 minutes of play seeing the game’s score just at 12-9. The first half ended with a jumper put up by Mondy, ending the half at 34-21.
“I’m not happy,” Kampe said. “I don’t know what was going on in our minds in the first five or six minutes of that game. Our shot selection was just horrible. It was like Oakland at Michigan State, we’re going to show everyone here I can play. It was just awful. And it’s not us, we’re team scorers. We get four guys averaging double figures and everybody gets shots.”
The second half saw a pickup in the action for Oakland, with Mondy scoring a total of 11 points in the half. With 7:30 left in the game, Oakland managed to close the gap on the Spartans, bringing them within four of tying the game at 51-55.
Oakland would only score once more for the remainder of the game, when senior Drew Valentine made a free-throw to bring Oakland’s total to 52 points. The Spartans would go on a run of 15-1 in the final seven minutes of play.
Michigan State’s Keith Appling led the Spartans in their victory over the Golden Grizzlies, recording 20 points and rebounds. The Spartans shot 53 percent from the paint compared to Oakland’s 24 percent. Both teams struggled shooting from long range, with Oakland making 3-21 and shooting 14 percent beyond the arc. Michigan State managed just 3-11 for 27 percent.
Kampe said he was disappointed in the long-range shooting for the night. Kampe mentioned guard Travis Bader, stating he is not a good player but a great player who may be exhausted.
“I thought in the second half we got back to where we are supposed to be,” Kampe said. “We started with really good offense. It looked like we were going again. It was very disheartening. I’d rather get beat 99 to nothing and play good basketball than what we did.”
Throughout the game, Oakland was constantly facing foul troubles, acquiring 20 total.
The younger Valentine recorded 10 points along with 10 rebounds in the Spartans victory. The Golden Grizzlies senior recorded just five points and four rebounds.
“That kid, Drew, is just one hell of a kid and he’s mentored Denzel,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. “I didn’t see anybody going after anybody. (Their father) has done an incredible job with those two kids. I think Drew is a little hurt and he just sucked it up.”
Izzo said he told Denzel within the first 10 minutes of play that he better learn something from his brother right now.
“I don’t think anybody enjoyed it,” Izzo said. “It wasn’t one of those things that was thrilling because it was important for both teams. I think there is a great respect and felt bad for Drew a little bit and I’ve known the kid forever, just like Bader.”
Despite the win, Izzo agreed with Kampe that neither team played well Friday night, and stated both teams are tired and worn out.
Kampe said the Golden Grizzlies are a tired team, with another road game coming up Monday at Tennessee. Michigan State has another game in East Lansing Sunday afternoon against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Oakland will travel to Tennessee to face the Volunteers Sunday night at 7 p.m. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Net.