Offensive struggle gives men’s basketball their first Blacktop loss of the season

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Offensive struggle gives men’s basketball their first Blacktop loss of the season

Oakland lost against Northeastern  61-59 in a close battle on the Blacktop at the O'rena Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Oakland lost against Northeastern 61-59 in a close battle on the Blacktop at the O'rena Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Ian Levinson

Oakland lost against Northeastern 61-59 in a close battle on the Blacktop at the O'rena Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Ian Levinson

Ian Levinson

Oakland lost against Northeastern 61-59 in a close battle on the Blacktop at the O'rena Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Aujenee Hirsch, Staff Reporter

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The Oakland men’s basketball team (9-2) did not get the present it wanted this holiday season. The Golden Grizzlies lost to the Northeastern Huskies (7-5) 61-59 during the team’s game on Dec. 20.

“I’m sad and disappointed that we lost, but I’m really happy with my team,” Head Coach Greg Kampe said in the post-game press conference. “We battled. When everything looked bad, we came in and had a chance to get that game into overtime.”

The loss against the Huskies ended Oakland’s five-game winning streak and the team’s eight-game home-court winning streak.

Oakland had not played a game in 10 days, and the team had a difficult time finding an alternate practice facility, as the gym was closed because of winter commencement.

During the first half, there was some unusual behavior displayed by the Golden Grizzlies. The team was unable to make many of the baskets it had made in previous games this season. Oakland was 11 for 39 from the field and 2 for 14 from beyond the arc.

“I think, especially now that the game is over with, just forget about it,” freshman Chris Palombizio said in the post-game press conference. “Our next focus is Michigan State, and I don’t think we’re even thinking about the RPI. We just want to win that next game. This will be forgotten, and we just have to move forward.”

Northeastern showed some strong offense and zoning defense that Oakland struggled with in the first half of the first period, but Palombizio put some spark back into Oakland’s game.

With 3:47 left in the first half, he stole the ball from the Huskies and made the second successful 3-pointer in the half. He helped decrease Northeastern’s 11-point lead to eight points. From there, the Golden Grizzlies continued to make baskets, and the score was 36-27 Northeastern at the end of the first half. This marked the first time this season that Oakland trailed at the end of the first half.

“Guys weren’t really playing their role tonight,” junior Nick Daniels said during the post-game press conference. “It felt like some of our guys just weren’t ready to step up and get the shot, or not ready to attack. Then when the zoning came, some of us made bad passes and bad decisions on the zone.”

The Huskies never trailed in the second half, but Oakland put up a better fight. With 3:16 left in the game, the Golden Grizzlies tied the game at 54-54 with a 3-pointer from Daniels. With 9.6 seconds left in the game and the score at 59-56 Huskies, junior Martez Walker was fouled on a 3-pointer attempt and was sent to the line to shoot three free-throw shots. Walker successfully made all three and tied the score at 59-59.

To secure Northeastern’s victory, senior TJ Williams made a fade-away jumper at the buzzer, winning the game for the Huskies 61-59.

Williams led Northeastern with 22 points and 11 rebounds. He was the only player to play the entire 40 minutes of the game. Northeastern’s freshman Max Boursiquot scored 16 points and was 8 for 15 from the field.

Oakland’s junior Jalen Hayes led the team with 18 points, two blocks and one steal. He was 8 for 14 from the field. Palombizio and Daniels each scored nine points in the game. Palombizio was 2 for 3 from the 3-point line and Daniels was 3 for 6.

The Golden Grizzlies play the Michigan State Spartans at 7 p.m. ET at the Breslin Student Events Center on Dec. 21.