All-around effort from OU plays big role in defeating Emoni Bates, Eastern Michigan


Trey Townsend reads the defense versus the Penguins. The Golden Grizzlies won in overtime, 87-83, and Townsend drew a key charge in overtime.

The Oakland men’s basketball team welcomed Emoni Bates and the Eastern Michigan Eagles to the O’rena on Saturday, Nov. 19. Fans were either on the edge of their seats or on their feet as the game crept toward the finish line.

A Trey Townsend layup late in the second half sent the game to overtime, where Oakland eventually won 92-90. 

Emoni Bates, who was one of the most highly rated recruits coming out of the 2021 high school class, spent one season at Memphis before transferring to Eastern Michigan over the offseason. He’s a 6-foot-8 do-it-all prospect who has been compared to NBA Star Kevin Durant throughout most of his recruitment. 

Despite the future NBA player on the floor, Oakland played excellent team basketball to help knock off the Eagles. 

Oakland jumped out to a blistering start. Rocket Watts scored eight quick points and the Golden Grizzlies established a commanding 16-3 lead early in the game.

Eastern Michigan continued to hang around, though. The Eagles trailed by as many as 19 in the first half, but a late first-half surge brought them to within nine as the teams headed to the locker rooms.

Eastern Michigan trailed much of the second half until a Noah Farrakhan jump shot tied the game at 70 with 6:44 left in the game.

As crunch time ensued, numerous Golden Grizzlies stepped up. Townsend, Blake Lampman, Osei Price and Keaton Hervey all scored in the game’s final six minutes.

Down by two with 16 seconds left, Oakland turned to perhaps its best option — Townsend. And the junior delivered, making a layup with three seconds left to send the game to overtime.

Although Oakland maintained all momentum going into overtime, Eastern Michigan stole it right back. The Eagles scored the first bucket of the overtime period, and they never trailed in the 5-minute overtime until there were just nine seconds left. 

Another Townsend layup proved to be the difference between the two teams as the game came to a close. With nine seconds left, this layup ended up being the game-winner, and Eastern Michigan failed to even get another shot off.

Bates led all scorers with 19 points in 41 minutes. The sophomore shot 7-16 from the floor, including an outstanding 5-11 from distance. 

A slew of other Eagles had strong performances as well, but Oakland’s gritty team performance won the game.

Townsend and Hervey each scored 17, Watts added 15, Will Shepherd scored 12 and Lampman and Jalen Moore both finished with 11.

It was a solid win for Oakland over an Eastern Michigan team that took Michigan down to the wire at Little Caesars Arena back on Nov. 11. Bates poured in 30 points in that game, so the defensive effort by the Golden Grizzlies is not something to be taken lightly. 

To hold a budding superstar to 19 points on sub-50% shooting is quite an accomplishment.

Oakland will depart from the United States and venture out to the Bahamas this week to compete in the 2022 Nassau Championship.