Golden Grizzlies end two game skid, blow out Flames at home

Golden Grizzlies defeated the UIC flames 86-61 at the O’rena on Sunday, Jan. 10, ending their two-game losing streak. Felder led the team with 26 points and four assists. 

Oakland ended its four-game home stand on a high note, drubbing the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames 86-61 on Sunday afternoon.

After two straight disappointing loses on its own blacktop, Oakland (10-7, 2-2) got back to its balanced attack on offense and held a struggling UIC team (2-12, 0-3) to just 37.5 percent shooting on offense to get back in the win column. 

Kay Felder led the Golden Grizzlies in scoring with 26, continuing his streak of scoring at least 20 in every game this season. Jalen Hayes and Brad Brechting both scored ten points, while collecting six and five rebounds respectively.

Head coach Greg Kampe said at the postgame press conference that he was impressed by how efficient the offense seemed to be running Sunday afternoon. He said that he thought the team was trying to score too quickly in previous contests. The efficiency was a point of emphasis at practice in between games and will be for the rest of the season.

“We went back to our roots and where we were the first day of practice and started over, I’m very pleased with the results,” Kampe said.

“That doesn’t mean we are there, but I think we are refocused and back to having a plan that can make our team the best it can be. We got away from that plan and that was my fault.”

Kampe made an interesting move by not playing center Percy Gibson until the second half. The redshirt senior, who had started every game for the Golden Grizzlies prior to Sunday’s game, finished with nine points and two rebounds.

“If Percy can play at the level of intensity and physicality in the second half tonight, we have a chance to achieve greatness with this team. There are not a lot of players in the Horizon League that look and can move like Percy Gibson,” Kampe said.

“I need to as a coach figure out the best way to motivate him to play at peak performance and it has been a struggle for me to do that so far this season.”

Felder and Hayes said after the game that the win came at a perfect time for the team after losing a heartbreaker to Youngstown State and a blowout to Valparaiso last week. The team will have the week off before heading to face its rival Detroit on Saturday afternoon.

“We came out, executed and did what we were supposed to do. Hopefully this can start something great for us and we can get on a winning streak,” Felder said.

With 14 games left to play, Oakland sits in the middle of the pack in the Horizon League with Valparaiso leading the league and owning the only perfect record. The Golden Grizzlies will not meet the Crusaders again until the end of the season, but face a crucial stretch of games with six of their next eight being on the road.

The Golden Grizzlies will travel to Calihan Hall this Saturday afternoon with a 3 p.m. tip. The game will be broadcasted on WADL TV and 1130 WDFN radio.