Men’s basketball wraps up non-conference play with loss to Michigan State


Carlos Osorio/AP

Michigan State’s Marcus Bingham Jr. goes for the rebound against Oakland on Dec. 21. Photo courtesy of the Lansing State Journal.

The Oakland University men’s basketball team fell to the No. 11 ranked Michigan State Spartans 90-78 Tuesday night at Little Caesars Arena. 

It was a quick start for the Spartans, with the team going on an 8-0 run to start the game. Freshman guard Max Christie, a five-star recruit, hit two early three-pointers. 

Jalen Moore got the scoring started for the Golden Grizzlies with a three of his own. Jamal Cain hit one as well to keep Oakland in it. MSU led 15-8 at the first media timeout thanks to their strong three-point shooting.

Oakland started clamping down on defense around the perimeter, so MSU responded by dishing the ball inside to seven-foot tall center Marcus Bingham Jr. With their lack of size, the Grizzlies had no answer for Bingham on either side of the court. 

However, Cain and Moore kept Oakland in the game offensively, while they struggled defensively with MSU’s length and athleticism. The Spartans had nine offensive rebounds in the first half.

Momentum started swinging back into Oakland’s favor after they started to get hot from behind the arc. Cain and Moore were leading the way once again scoring 13 and 12 points respectively in the first half.  

Late in the first half, Head Coach Greg Kampe received a technical foul. He was arguing a no-call on MSU’s Gabe Brown for a potential goaltending. 

The Spartans would close the half on an 8-0 run, thanks to five Oakland turnovers down the stretch. They led 44-35 at the half. 

MSU opened the second half the same way they started the game—with some stellar three-point shooting. Point guard Tyson Walker made two and freshman guard Jaden Akins made one to keep the Spartans’ lead at double digits at the first media timeout.

The Golden Grizzlies continued to struggle rebounding the basketball. Bingham was killing them on the boards with his length. He had a monster game, finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. 

Oakland’s defense was uncharacteristically sloppy all game long as well. The Spartans just had too many open looks. 

With 5:22 left in the game, MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo was hit with a technical foul. Forward Joey Hauser was called for a blocking foul, and he disagreed. Cain split the following free throws, then proceeded to miss the front end of a one-and-one.

The Golden Grizzlies tried to make it a game again toward the end, but a late turnover by freshman guard Osei Price pretty much sealed the game for the Spartans. They took this one, 90-78. 

With the loss, Oakland has now lost all 19 matchups with Michigan State.

Moore and Cain were definitely the highlights for the Golden Grizzlies, but Micah Parrish deserves some credit. He quietly had a very nice game, putting up 19 points and eight rebounds. 

All of Oakland’s scoring came from just four players— Parrish, Moore [25], Cain [20], and Trey Townsend [14]. 

The Spartans were struggling mightily with turnovers on the season entering this game. They had just 10 in this game, well below their season average of 15. 

The rebounding advantage was 37-28 in favor of MSU. It seemed much worse than that given Oakland struggles on the glass, especially in the first half. 

With this game and the non-conference season now in the rearview mirror, the Golden Grizzlies now prepare for Horizon League play. They will take on Robert Morris on Dec. 30 at the O’Rena to resume conference play. The game tips off at 7 p.m.