Men’s basketball defeats IUPUI to close out regular season

The O’Rena was packed on Saturday night as the Golden Grizzlies faced off against the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Jaguars on the Blacktop. The Golden Grizzlies ended the regular season on a four-game win streak, beating IUPUI 74-63.

This win for the Golden Grizzlies secured their spot as the No. 3 in the Horizon League Motor City Madness tournament. Assistant Coach Mychal Covington felt great about the win and is confident this Golden Grizzlies team will get the job done in the postseason.

“We love to play in front of our fans,” Covington said. “It gives us a boost and really helps us close out games. We have the longest win streak in the league right now, our guys feel great, we’re sticking to the game plan, so we feel great going into the postseason. We have to get back to work however, there’s still a few more games to finish.”

On sweater vest day, the Black and Gold took the court and set out for a win. The first half was a back and forth bout between the teams. Tray Maddox, freshman guard for the Golden Grizzlies, ended the game with 10 points. The Golden Grizzlies are 6-2 when he scores in double figures and this was his eighth performance scoring double figures. Braden Norris, a freshman guard, recorded his third career double-double with 12 points and 10 assists along with 3 steals. Despite this, at the end of the half, Oakland found themselves behind by two with a score of 33-31.

The battle of the bigs was the theme of the second half as Xavier Hill-Mais and Brad Brechting took over in the paint. Brechting, a redshirt junior, led the team with 15 points and had a career high four assists. Hill-Mais wasn’t too far behind with 14 points, a team high seven rebounds and five assists. Brechting is currently averaging 18 points and nine rebounds in the last nine games, and in the last 11 games has scored double figures.

The crowd was packed and fully invested into the game. With every possession there were cheers from the crowd, chants from the student section, and instruments from the band playing. The crowd was a factor in the mental aspect of the game as down the stretch IUPUI started to make costly mistakes and turnovers that would lead to their loss.

Oakland, taking full advantage of the mistakes, went on a run that put them in the driver’s seat. The Golden Grizzlies shot 44 percent from long range and 52 percent from the field, showing efficient shooting as well as executing on open 3-pointers. As time dwindled down to the final possession, Oakland found themselves leaving the Blacktop with a win in the final game of the regular season

The Golden Grizzlies will be back on the court Wednesday, March 6 to kick off the post season against the No. 6 ranked Youngstown State University Penguins, who defeated the Golden Grizzlies earlier this season on their home court.