Oakland drops UDM in nationally-televised offensive spectacular, clinches No.2 in league tournament


Kay Felder got 16 assists and scored 26 points in a Friday-night victory over UDM. For more photos from the game, visit The Oakland Post’s Facebook page.

“How can you not like what you just saw?”

The question, rhetorical, came from an elated Greg Kampe, Oakland men’s basketball head coach, in the postgame press conference.

After, a bit past midnight, the O’rena lights turned fully back on again. Apparently the electricity still lingered.

The hours previous had played out in offensive flair, gracing ESPNU’s 9 p.m. audience with four Jalen Hayes’ dunks and Chris Jenkins scoring on six possessions in a row for the University of Detroit Mercy Titans.

Oakland (21-10, 13-5 in Horizon League) beat UDM (15-14, 9-9) 108-97 on Friday night in the O’rena.

The Golden Grizzlies clinched the No.2 seed in the Horizon League Championship (securing a trip straight to the semifinals), while UDM clinched No.6.

“Winning tonight was like winning three games,” Kampe said. “That’s how important is was.”

Oakland plays in the semifinals on Monday, March 7. Watch on ESPNU. If the Golden Grizzlies win, the finals follow at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8. Watch on ESPN or ESPN2.

The Friday-night spectacular was to be expected. Both teams averaged over 80 points per game coming in, and that figure only rose in the ensuing skirmish.

Oakland shot 59.4 percent from the field and 44 percent behind the arc. UDM shot 46.4 percent from the field, but attempted 20 more shots than the Golden Grizzlies.

The Titans shot 7-for-26 behind the arc, or 26.9 percent. Opponents’ threes have been a decisive factor for Oakland this season. If UDM’s three percentage had climbed, the game could have turned out a lot differently.

Kay Felder demonstrated to the country how to lead an offense, dishing 16 assists, scoring 26, and almost netting the triple-double with nine rebounds.

Martez Walker shot 6-for-11 from the field and 3-for-6 behind the arc, scoring 22 and getting four boards.

Percy Gibson played the paint to near perfection, shooting 7-for-9 from the field and grabbing nine rebounds (four of them offensive) with a couple of dishes. He got 17 points.

Jalen Hayes not only provided some spark with his four dunks, but substance as well, picking up ten boards and three assists. He shot 7-for-10 from the field, totaling 14 points.

Max Hooper (who got a heartwarming surprise on game-day) shot 50 percent behind the arc, getting four threes, three rebounds and even a steal. He finished with 12 points and ended the season without attempting a 2-point shot.

Nick Daniels only played 15 minutes, but got couple of threes and only missed one, netting eight points in total.

Hooper and Gibson played their last game in the O’rena and were given a proper sendoff after the game, with kind words and stories from Kampe over the PA.

For the Titans, Chris Jenkins led in scoring with 22, shooting 9-for-14 from the field and 3-for-7 behind the arc.

Paris Bass went for 18 points and four rebounds.

Josh McFolley, a freshman, scored 15.

Jaleel Hogan got 13 points and eight rebounds.

Anton Wilson scored 13, dished six and grabbed five boards.

Oakland took a quick 17-6 lead, but the Titans took it back with 7:17 left in the first half. The Golden Grizzlies put the score to 44-36 Oakland at the half.

Midway through the second half, Jenkins scored on six straight UDM possessions to cut Oakland’s lead from 13 to four and keep it there.

“I think he’s one of the best players in the league,” Kampe said, “and he showed that tonight. He willed their team back into the game. And usually when that happens, you’re in trouble.”

Detroit’s run halted with 5:54 left. Still a four-point game, UDM head coach Ray McCallum got a technical foul.

McCallum said in the press conference that he was surprised what he considers one of the best official crews in the Horizon League assessed that foul so late in a close game. He also said he didn’t think he got a warning.

“I’ve coached against Ray for a long time,” Kampe said. “He’s very nice man. … I think he feels that his kid got hit. I wouldn’t even question that he did.”

Kampe said the ref didn’t want to do it, but that McCallum had followed the sideline to half court.

That four-point lead was the closest Detroit would get. Oakland seared a 9-0 run in the scoreboard and closed out the victory.

Jenkins, in the press conference, said the Titans can’t let teams put up a hundred against them.

“We have to lock down and be consistent every single possession,” he said.

“They’re an inside-out team,” Jenkins said about Oakland, “and it all starts with Kay Felder. He’s the machine that starts the train.”

He said Felder (who Jenkins played against in high school), coupled with the size of Gibson and Hayes in the paint, provides some trouble.

“In the tournament, they’re going to be a scary team to play,” Jenkins said.

Kampe was glad the nation got to witness Felder on Friday night.

“Look at that stat sheet,” Kampe said. “He was a rebound away from a triple-double. At 5-foot eight. The kid can fricken play, man. He can play.”

He said Felder’s prowess can get you into trouble because when you’re expecting greatness from him every possession, the mistakes hit hard.

Nevertheless, Oakland’s athletic director Jeff Konya has been doing the numbers: How much would it cost to buy television advertisements equivalent in airtime to the highlights (many from Felder) that have cast a floodlight on Oakland’s team and indeed the university?

“We’re up over 30 million dollars,” Kampe said. “I guarantee you this: If Kay comes back next year and has the same type of year and that, there isn’t going to be anyone that thinks Oakland’s in California anymore….”

And yet:

“What’s happened to that kid this year, and he hasn’t changed,” Kampe said. “He hasn’t changed one bit. … He’s just who he is. He’s a joy to coach, and he’s a great teammate.”

Plus, because of Felder’s publicity:

“Now everybody knows who Jalen Hayes is,” Kampe said. “Now everybody knows what the Blacktop is.”

Oakland brought a recruit in to see the game Friday night.

“His mouth was down to here,” Kampe said. “What an environment.”

Kampe said if Felder has a first round draft pick and guaranteed money, he’d urge the junior to go pro, even if Felder wanted to return. Kampe said he’d do not what’s best for himself or for Oakland, but what’s best for Felder. He said the Golden Grizzlies’ credo is the “student athlete experience,” what’s best for them, and that they’ll stick to it.

The men’s basketball Metro Series sits at 5-1 in Oakland’s favor.

“How can you call that a rivalry when they’ve only won one time?” Felder said in the press conference.

“Be careful,” Kampe said. “We’re going to play them again in ten days. Trust me.”