Men’s basketball loses 80-50 to UIC


Sergio Montanez

Men’s basketball falls to University of Illinois-Chicago 80-50 on Thursday, Jan. 23.

On Thursday, Jan. 23, the Golden Grizzlies faced off against the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames in the O’rena. In this game, the Flames started the game by scoring seven straight points and would not look back. 

The Flames were led by Tarkus Ferguson’s 19-point, eight assist, and seven rebound performance. Ferguson had a career day, leading the Flames in points, assists, rebounds, blocks and tying for the team lead in steals. 

Stopping Ferguson was just the tip of the iceberg for Oakland, as it felt like no one could miss against them. UIC would shoot 12-21 (57%) from 3-point range. This would not be the first time this season the away team has shot unbelievably well behind the arc in the O’rena.

Physically, the Golden Grizzlies’ defense has not been remotely close to as much of a liability as it appears. The defense is typically closing out on the shooter in a timely manner, but the shots just happen to fall, time and time again, as evidence by the UIC game.

Offensively, the team looks to find an identity. Through the first 35 minutes, only four Golden Grizzlies (Hill-Mais, Brechting, Williams and Lampman) scored a point. Scoring 50 points against a Horizon League team at home is never ideal, as Head Coach Greg Kampe noted. 

“Obviously, this is a really, really, really low point,” Kampe recalled, “To lose for a second time at home by 30 points in league play … we just handed (UIC) the ball.”

The game was not a complete blowout, however, as Oakland was able to bring the game to within eight coming back from halftime. The Grizzlies tried to claw back in the game, but it did not take much for the Flames to get their shots back on track to run away with the game for good. 

In his first game in the O’rena as a Golden Grizzly, Rashad Williams recorded 12 points and three steals. Coach Kampe was impressed with his performance enough to bring him into the interview room after the game. 

With new players comes new rotations, and the Golden Grizzlies may still be looking to find a solution.

Williams made a point when addressing what the team must do going forward. 

“We just need to come together,” Williams said. “In practice, we need to compete a little harder … and communicate better.”

Next up, the Golden Grizzlies travel to Calihan Hall to take on their rival University of Detroit Mercy Titans on Friday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.