Men’s basketball ends non-conference play with win over SEC


Bohdanna Cherstylo

After two consecutive losses in one week, Martez Walker lead Oakland with 30 points to its 86-79 win over Georgia.

Drew Hagge , WXOU Sports Director

The Golden Grizzlies (10-3) ended their non-conference schedule on a positive note on Friday, Dec. 23, beating the Georgia Bulldogs (8-4) 86-79.

The game against the Bulldogs marked just the sixth time a team from a Power-5 conference played on the Blacktop at the O’rena. Oakland has fared well against this enhanced competition, and Friday’s game pushed its record to 4-2 in such games.

Friday was the third game in four nights for the Black and Gold, who came up short in the first two games against Northeastern and Michigan State. The schedule was designed to prepare Oakland for the Horizon League Tournament in early March.

“Our only avenue to the NCAA Tournament is to win three games in four days,” explained Head Coach Greg Kampe in a GrizzVision interview after the game. “This was a higher level than we’ll probably see in our league . . . other than Valpo.”

Offensively, Martez Walker led the way for the Golden Grizzlies, scoring 25 points in the second half alone, to bring him to a career-high 30 points that night. Walker made a game-high nine field goals on 14 attempts while securing another team-high of five rebounds.

Coming into the game, Walker led Oakland in scoring with 17.6 points per game, despite totaling a combined 14 points in the games against Northeastern and Michigan State earlier in the week.

“It’s a long season,” Kampe said of Walker. “He’s going to have a lot of nights like this, and he’s going to have nights like the other night.”

Ultimately, Kampe said, “We’ve got to win either night. We’ve got to find a way to win.”

Defensively, Oakland found a way to come out victorious against the Bulldogs with the help of a couple guards off the bench: Brailen Neely and Nick Daniels.

Bulldog point guard J.J. Frazier began the game with 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field in the first half. The first six minutes of the second half featured Daniels guarding Frazier, while Neely took over the responsibility for the final 14 minutes of the game.

In the second half, Frazier managed to score just four points and shot 0-for-10 from the field, while being guarded by the Neely and Daniels combination.

Sherron Dorsey-Walker added 12 points as the only other Golden Grizzly to reach double digits. He also contributed five rebounds and three assists. Jalen Hayes’ foul woes continued, playing only 15 minutes and fouling out with just under eight minutes to play in the second half.

Oakland will now shift all their attention to the Horizon League, as conference play officially begins Wednesday, Dec. 28. The Golden Grizzlies will open their conference schedule against Wright State on Thursday, Dec. 29 on the Blacktop at the O’rena.