MBB welcomes IUPUI to Horizon League with close game

Michael Pearce, Staff Intern

The Golden Grizzly men’s basketball team ended a two-game losing streak with a 82-74 win against the Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Jaguars on Sunday, Feb. 4. Kendrick Nunn led the team in scoring with a game-high 25 points, with Jalen Hayes second on the team, scoring 21.

In a game where Oakland was without Isaiah Brock, Brailen Neely and James Beck due to injury, freshman Stan Scott made his first career start.

“[Scott] was ready for the moment,” Nunn said. “We talked to him before the game, loosened him up, took the butterflies out. We just told him to go out there and play, and he did well.”

Scott finished the game with seven points, eight rebounds and five assists. Scott played only 48 minutes before the game, but logged 30 minutes in his first start.

“It was a lot of pressure at first but I kind of broke that,” Scott said. “I had confidence, and I just did what I had to do. I just found ways to score and get baskets.”

The game was close at the start, with the Golden Grizzlies leading by three with 10 minutes gone in the first half. Strong defensive play led to a five minute scoring drought for IUPUI, giving Oakland a 14 point lead with five minutes to go.

At the end of the first half, the scoreboard read 49-36. Hayes led the Golden Grizzlies in scoring with 18 points, and Nunn had 13.

The lead began to shrink with ten minutes to go in the second half, with Oakland up 63-50. Hayes fouled out of the game on a technical foul with just over nine minutes remaining in the second half, and the combination of foul trouble and scoring droughts resulted in IUPUI going on a run.

Oakland’s lead was then cut to three with almost eight minutes left after a Jaguar three pointer and two free throws.

“We were in trouble,” Head Coach Greg Kampe said. “We were in real trouble. The momentum had swung the other way when Jalen [Hayes] went out of the game. Everything seemed to be going against us, and the lead shrunk.”

The game remained close until the last two minutes of the game. With Oakland up 76-72, Scott blocked an opponent’s layup attempt, and out of a time out the team executed a play that resulted in a Martez Walker layup.

“We have lost a bunch of close games, it would have been easy for us to have excuses. We executed, and I believe that execution won the game for us,” Kampe said.

Despite being outscored in the second half, Kampe expressed optimism in his team’s win.

“I think it’s amazing we won,” he said. “We’re going to have droughts, I think it is amazing we held on. I am so proud of the kids that played and what they did. I’m not usually a guy who smiles and laughs on the sidelines, but I was hugging Nick [Daniels]. This was a good day for us, a really good day.”