Coming off a thrilling overtime win against Oral Roberts, the Golden Grizzlies looked to ride that hot hand back home on the blacktop against the Texas Southern Tigers. Texas Southern came into this one with a disappointing 0-6 record but with a roster bursting with talent. The Black and Gold counter with an impressive lineup of their own but still missing all star point guard Kendrick Nunn who is recovering from an ankle injury.
Oakland jumped right back into their impressive offensive ways and jumped to an early lead as the first half progressed. Brailen Neely was having a fantastic start going 4-4 from the field with nine points and four assists halfway through the first. The lead for the Golden Grizzlies extended to 46-40 when halfway came rolling around.
Fifth year seniors Martez Walker and Nick Daniels were yet again leading the charge against Texas Southern with ten and nine points respectively. Daniels also led the team with three rebounds, followed by Jalen Hayes and Isaiah Brock with two. The Black and Gold came flying back onto the court after halftime with expectations of building on their first half lead.
The first ten minutes of the second half were a little more teeter-totter than Oakland would of wanted. The score was within two points halfway through the second, but the Golden Grizzlies marched forward and took control of the game. Point guards Brailen Neely and Nick Daniels both had outstanding nights and led the Black and Gold to a 97-87 victory. Four Oakland players finished with 20+ points and it’s something many have not seen in awhile including head coach Greg Kampe.
“I talked to Hipsher who has coached for as long as I have and neither one of us can ever remember seeing a game where one team had four guys with 20 points in it” Kampe said.
Neely and Walker were tied for the lead in points with 22 a piece, Daniels and Hayes followed very closely with 21 and 20 points as well. In the assist category Neely ran the house with a cool 13 assists. Hayes and Brock dominated the boards in this one with a combined 19 rebounds and the Golden Grizzlies as a whole tied Texas Southern with 37 total rebounds.
In a career night for Neely he was asked what this game meant for his confidence level and this is what he had to say.
“In the end of the day like Nick said it’s about the team, so whatever I can do to help out that’s what i’m going to do” Neely said. “Whether it’s free throws, passing or defense, whatever it is” he said.
Daniels has taken over a strong leadership role on this team and it definitely shows, Neely had this to say on what Daniels means to this team.
“He keeps us together, when teams go on runs and when he sees our heads down or when we’re in a tough spot Nick is always there and it’s good to hear his voice.”
After a win at home against Texas Southern, the Golden Grizzlies go on the road to face to powerful MAC teams in Western and Eastern Michigan.