Men’s basketball dominates Ohio Christian in last minute matchup

Trey+Townsend+finishes+a+dunk+against+Ohio+Christian+on+Jan.+7.

Amelia Osadchuk

Trey Townsend finishes a dunk against Ohio Christian on Jan. 7.

The Oakland University Golden Grizzlies men’s basketball team defeated the Ohio Christian University Trailblazers 108-40 in a matchup on Friday, Jan. 7 at the O’rena.

This was a last-minute matchup after two straight COVID-19 related cancellations shook up the men’s basketball schedule. A potentially historic matchup at Horizon League rival University of Detroit Mercy — which could’ve seen Oakland win their 7th straight game at Calihan Hall — was scheduled for Jan. 5, and in addition to a Jan. 7 match at home against Green Bay, both were canceled due to COVID-19 outbreaks, leaving the Golden Grizzlies without an opponent for two pivotal matchups.

“I was Bob Barker for 24 hours. Man, it was ‘Let’s make a deal,’” Head Coach Greg Kampe said, discussing finding an opponent for a matchup on Friday before getting in contact with Ohio Christian. “Their game tomorrow was canceled because the other team had COVID-19, they were sitting at home and he called me back and said, ‘We can come.’”

Due to the nature of the game, this will count as a regular season victory for the Golden Grizzlies, but as an exhibition game for the visiting Trailblazers.

The Golden Grizzlies started off with an 8-0 run, before the Trailblazers scored seven straight. This would be the closest the score would get as Oakland turned up the defensive pressure and used their size and sheer athleticism to overwhelm Ohio Christian to end the first half up 53-18.

During the second half, Oakland set the tone by forcing more turnovers and scoring 23 in transition. Throughout the game, Oakland utilized their larger size to win the battle in the paint 72-24. Oakland kept this advantage and took the win over the Trailblazers 108-40.

Oakland’s star forwards Trey Townsend and Chris Conway dominated throughout the game, combining for 48 points — 26 and 22 respectively — and 20 rebounds to energize and lead the Golden Grizzlies. Oakland had four players in double figures, including Townsend and Conway’s dual double-doubles, and shot almost 63% from the field. Oakland was active in transition, outscoring Ohio Christian 39-4 off of turnovers, 17 of which were fast break points.

Despite the score, Ohio Christian proved a worthy opponent, scrapping and forcing turnovers versus the more skilled and athletic Oakland team. Ohio Christian took advantage of the offensive rebounds, as forward Devon Miller led the team with five offensive boards and helped them to score 14 second-chance points. Miller was the only Trailblazer in double figures, attributing to 12 of the team’s 40.

After a week marred by cancellations and a season of COVID-19 outbreaks, Oakland looks to take on Horizon League rival Milwaukee Jaguars on Sunday, Jan. 9. Oakland is on a three-game win streak and looks to improve to 5-0 over the Horizon League with a victory at home. The Golden Grizzlies are currently second in the conference behind Cleveland State. Look for Oakland to challenge for first place with a win this Sunday.