OU goes the distance with No. 5 Spartans

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Oakland University men’s basketball (2-9) forced No. 5 ranked Michigan State (8-1) to earn their 67-63 win at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Saturday afternoon.

It was designated a home game for the Golden Grizzlies, but Spartan fans represented the majority of the crowd.

“This means the world for us just being able to play this game,” OU head coach Greg Kampe said. “Grateful is the best word I have for it, and I’m just excited to have the opportunity to play here.”

Senior guard Duke Mondy and the Grizzlies led much of the first half and appeared poised for an upset.

“Defense is the reason we could stay in this game,” he said.

Mondy led all scorers in the game with 24 points. He added six rebounds and seven steals in back-to-back contests. He currently leads the nation with 4.6 steals a game.

Grizzly senior Travis Bader got off to a hot start, hitting two of his first three shots from behind the arc.

“We’re definitely capable of playing teams like this,” Bader said. “We have to play like we’re playing Michigan State every night.”

Travis Bader finished the game with 18 points for Oakland.

Adreian Payne was the only thing keeping the Spartans in the game early, scoring 14 of the first 18 Spartan points.

OU tried to hold onto their lead against the Spartans going into the half, but turnovers and bad shots cost them opportunities to pull away.

Momentum shifted back-and-forth in the second half, including a 3-pointer by Mondy to tie the game at 50 with 7:44 remaining.

From that point on, the Spartan lead grew to eight with five minutes to play at 58-50. MSU guard Keith Appling asserted himself in the second half, scoring 18 points and finishing with a Spartan-leading 21.

Payne finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds while junior forward Brendan Dawson added 16

The Grizzlies leaned on Travis Bader in the final seconds, but the Spartans proved to be too much.

“It was a good college basketball game that a lot of people seemed to enjoy,” Kampe said. “It was on national TV, and I think it showed Oakland pretty well.”

Oakland continues their home stand Monday, Dec. 16 against Illinois State.