Wright State wrongs Oakland

OU senior guard Travis Bader struggles to find space in a previous meeting with Wright State. Friday's contest fared better for Bader, who scored 20 points, but it wasn't enough - other than Bader, only junior forward Dante Williams scored in double figures for Oakland.

By Timothy Pontzer

ASHWAUBENON, Wis. — The Oakland University men’s basketball season came to an end on Friday night with a 73-57 defeat at the hands of the Wright State Raiders in the second round of the Horizon League Tournament.

Mired by a combination of defensive lapses and cold shooting, the Golden Grizzlies (13-20, 7-10 Horizon) never led in their third meeting with the Raiders – all of which have resulted in Wright State victories.

“We were just terrible,” Oakland head coach Greg Kampe said. “We ended up being who we were, a team of inconsistency. This is probably the worst shooting team I’ve coached in my thirty years at Oakland.”

The Grizzlies shot 18 of 44 from the field, including a 7 of 24 mark from beyond the arc. Wright State countered with a shooting percentage above 50 percent (23 of 43), and a season best nine 3-pointers on 19 attempts.

Senior guard Travis Bader led the OU attack with 20 points in what is likely his last game in an Oakland uniform.

“It hasn’t hit me yet that I don’t have another game in an Oakland jersey,” Bader said. “It has been a really interesting year this season, but this team showed that it had a lot of fight in it. I’m really glad that I got to spend a year in the Horizon League.”

Bader’s chase and eventual breaking of the all-time NCAA 3-point record was one of the bright spots in Oakland’s inaugural Horizon campaign, but the sharpshooter could not muster enough offense to carry his team against the Raiders.

“We made it a point to take Bader out of the game, and I think we were pretty successful at that,” Wright State head coach Billy Donlon said. “(Raiders senior guard) Matt Vest was on him all night and we held him to only seven points in the second half.”

Bader credited Vest with stymieing his production, but also admitted that he himself failed to live up to his own expectations.

“Matt is a great defender and a great player,” Bader said. “He likes to take on that challenge of locking down a player. I still had some shots that just didn’t go, and in tournament time you need to have those, but he did a great job of checking me the whole time.”

While Bader lamented his output despite a game-high 20 points, Kampe pointed the finger at the other members of his roster, especially at the charity stripe.

“We were 7 of 19 from the free throw line outside of Bader (who was 7 of 8),” Kampe said. “You can’t win like that. You won’t beat a bad team with stuff like that, much less a really good team like Wright State.”

Kampe also highlighted the poor play of his other senior starter, Duke Mondy. The senior guard only managed to score 5 total points on 1 of 8 shooting in what will be his final NCAA basketball contest.

“Duke has had his ups and downs this year, and it kind of ended on a down for him,” Kampe said.

Wright State led the entire affair, utilizing long runs at the beginning of each half. The Raiders jumped out to an initial 14-5 lead right after tip off and opened the second half with an 11-2 run.

“The start of the second half was terrible,” Kampe said. “In do-or-die games you have to come out of the box well in the second half and I really think that is what caused us to have such a bad night.”

Kampe was very blunt in summing up the season, admitting that the Grizzlies failed to reach their goal. However, he did find a few bright spots to cherish.

“Getting to the NCAA tournament is our holy grail, nothing else matters,” Kampe said. “While you’re sad right now, later on some of those happy memories will come back. Hey, we beat Detroit twice!”