Jalen Moore’s last-second 3-pointer gives Oakland new life, Golden Grizzlies avoid catastrophic upset


Photo courtesy of Oakland University Athletics

Jalen Moore scored 24 points in a losing effort against Northern Kentucky.

One of the biggest upsets of, perhaps, the entire college basketball season almost panned out on Thursday, Jan. 19 in Indianapolis, but Jalen Moore had other plans. Oakland was able to escape disaster versus IUPUI at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum with an 83-77 overtime win over the Jaguars.

Entering the contest, Oakland had won five of its last six games and was one of the hotter teams in the Horizon League. IUPUI, on the other hand, was not as hot. 

In fact, the Jaguars entered the matchup with the Golden Grizzlies about as freezing cold as possible. Prior to Thursday’s matchup, they held a 3-16 overall record, and at 0-8, they had yet to win a Horizon League game. 

In the early going, Oakland established an early lead, but it struggled to pull away from IUPUI as many thought it would. The Golden Grizzlies’ lead grew to as many as seven points, but the Jaguars hung around and cut the lead to three as the teams broke for halftime.

Although IUPUI only trailed by three at halftime, the writing was on the wall for Oakland to have a big second half and pull away from the Horizon League bottom-feeder. Through its first eight conference games, IUPUI came within 10 points of the opponent only twice. 

Despite the recent trend, Oakland was unable to pull away from the Jaguars. Oakland opened up a nine-point lead early in the second half, but seven second-half turnovers plagued the Golden Grizzlies as the Jaguars clawed their way back.

With 9:51 to play, guard Armon Jarrard made a jumper in transition, and IUPUI took its first lead of the game at 51-50.

The Jaguars then stretched their lead to as many as four points on three different occasions, and Oakland quickly found itself on the brink of embarrassment. 

IUPUI guard Jlynn Counter made two free throws with 13 seconds remaining to give the Jaguars a three-point lead.

Moore responded, though, with a deep 3-pointer to tie the game and send it to overtime.

The Jaguars were no match for the Golden Grizzlies in the five-minute overtime period, and Oakland escaped, 83-77. Ten of Oakland’s 15 overtime points came at the charity stripe.

Forward Trey Townsend reached a milestone in the win. With 4:36 left in the second half, Townsend made a free throw to complete an old-fashioned three-point play.

The free throw marked Townsend’s 1,000th career point as a Golden Grizzly, making him the 37th player in program history to reach the mark within the program.

The junior went on to finish with 26 points and 15 rebounds in the victory.

Meanwhile, Moore poured in 27 points on 3-4 shooting from beyond the arc. 

The two studs combined for 53 points on 18-34 shooting as they carried Oakland to its sixth conference win. 

With the win, the Golden Grizzlies improve to 8-12 overall and 6-3 in the Horizon League. They currently sit in a tie for fourth place, but they trail the leading three teams by only one game.

The team headed to Calihan Hall on Monday to take on the Detroit Mercy Titans in a rivalry matchup. The game started at 7 p.m., and it aired on ESPN+.