Golden Grizzlies drop season opener against Xavier

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Photo Courtesy of Big East Coast Bias

Oakland fell to the Xavier Musketeers 101-49 in their season opener.

Andrew Bernsdorf, Staff Reporter

The Oakland University Golden Grizzlies returned to action on Wednesday, Nov. 25 against the Xavier Musketeers to open up the Xavier Invitational. The Musketeers came away with a 101-49 victory over the Golden Grizzlies.

The first couple minutes provided no action as both teams were knotted at four a piece. Once the Musketeers warmed up, there was no turning back — they went on a 49-6 run on eight 3-pointers putting them up 53-12 heading into the locker room.

The second half proved to be better for the Golden Grizzlies. They scored 37 points in the second half — only being outscored by 11 — compared to a 41-point deficit in the first half.

Daniel Oladapo, Jalen Moore and Kevin Kangu led the Golden Grizzlies with eight points each.  Oladapo shot 3-8 with five rebounds and Moore scored eight points and had one rebound. Coming off the bench, Kevin Kangu scored eight points in 14 minutes. 

Kangu is the only senior to come back for the Golden Grizzlies, appearing in all 33 games last season, making 18 starts and leading Oakland in assists with 114 and averaging 5.1 points per game. 

Overall, the Golden Grizzlies had a rough shooting day. They only shot 23.2% from the field and 22.6% from the three-point range. On top of poor shooting, the Golden Grizzlies had 16 turnovers throughout the game.

The Musketeers saw five players score double digits, led by Zach Freemantle who scored 21 points against the Golden Grizzlies on Wednesday. 

Oakland falls to 0-5 in the all time series against the Musketeers.

It is worth mentioning the pandemic has caused the Golden Grizzlies to be less prepared than usual.

The team had to suspend all practices for nearly three weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the team. Nine athletes and five staff members, including head coach Greg Kampe, all tested positive for COVID-19.

Despite the adversity the team faced in the offseason, the Golden Grizzlies have a tough seven game stretch before Horizon League play starts up. As part of the Xavier Invitational, the Golden Grizzlies will also take on Toledo (11/26) and Bradley (11/27), followed by four power five schools in Michigan: Purdue, Oklahoma State and Michigan State, to round out non-conference play.

In the 2019-20 season, the Golden Grizzlies placed 6th in the Horizon League with an 8-10 record in conference play. For the 2020-21 season, the Golden Grizzlies were picked to finish sixth in the Horizon League. 

The Golden Grizzlies hope to bounce back from the season opener loss and prepare for conference play.