Grizz Gang hosts watch party for Men’s Basketball road game


Ryan Pini

Students gather in the Habitat to cheer on the Grizzlies.

Jonathan Savich, Staff Reporter

The men’s basketball team had a game at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24 against Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) on the road. 11 a.m. is a strange time for a basketball game, especially considering it’s a Thursday, but this made for a perfect opportunity for a viewing party to be put on in The Habitat.

The Habitat was inhabited by Oakland students looking to watch an Oakland win on the big screen while grabbing free bites of chicken tenders, quesadillas and mac ‘n’ cheese. This was the first time Oakland has done anything like this and it was an experience that would be worth putting on again.

“We had to talk to the O.S.I. to get this booked for today,” Grizz Gang President Brandon Scoppa said. “So a time like this is rare for an 11 a.m. start, most of the games start at 7 p.m. on Thursday nights, and we’re definitely going to going to plan more this year.”

The atmosphere was really open and relaxing at first, but by halftime, the students flooded in while turning up the stadium-like energy.

“I got here after class at about noon,” Grizz Gang Secretary Christopher Cousineau said. “It’s a great tradition we can start here at Oakland… I enjoy watching all the away games, and I think the more students we can get to watch the away games now that we have The Habitat with the big screen, the more fire we can get for Oakland basketball.”

As for the actual game, Oakland played a decent enough first half to have a lead of six points, but the second half was where things got away from the boys. The final score was 73-71, a closer looking score than the actual game was. Nonetheless, Oakland really did make a strong push at the end with two huge steals by guard Tray Maddox Jr. that were immediately converted into baskets helping them start their comeback from a 12- point hole with only a few minutes left. Maddox finished with 21 points, a career high.

Oakland played the foul game throughout the end of the game, and it kept working because IUPUI could not make their free throws.

Guard Jaevin Cumberland had a tough game as he went for 7-20 from the field, and suffered a minor knee sprain when he slipped on the floor, bending his knee completely backwards. Guard Braden Norris also had a down game, he went 2-7 from three where he typically shoots over 50 percent.

Seeing The Habitat starting to get some real world usage is reassuring the space has better use other than looking magnificent and being a place for students to sit on the giant steps. The massive screen and high quality audio system made the whole experience feel immersive as if you were at the game.

The event gathered a high turn-out, whether the students were in between their classes or found their way there. For the bigger games coming up in the season like the Horizon League tournament games and more tough regular season interconference matches, it will be really exciting to see how hyped The Habitat can get.