Jalen Moore’s 32 points lift Oakland over Detroit Mercy in rivalry duel

With a 6-3 Horizon League record, the Oakland men’s basketball team visited Calihan Hall on Monday, Jan. 23 to take on the Detroit Mercy Titans. Point guard Jalen Moore scored 32 points, and the Golden Grizzlies finished off the Titans, 76-67.

Junior forward Trey Townsend scored eight of Oakland’s first 10 points, and although the visiting Golden Grizzlies fell behind by six points early on, Townsend’s strong effort quickly brought them back even with Detroit.

Coming out of the under-12-minute media timeout in the first half, Oakland’s scoring contributions came from multiple sources, as opposed to just Townsend. 

Keaton Hervey made a free throw, Osei Price connected on a 3-pointer and Rocket Watts added five points all before Detroit scored its next point. Hervey, Watts and Chris Conway all led the way for Oakland in the ensuing minutes, and the Golden Grizzlies found themselves up 34-14 with 3:12 to play in the first half.

Although Oakland had built up a large lead, it wasn’t insurmountable for the NCAA’s all-time leading 3-point shooter, Antoine Davis. Davis began to get hot, and despite going scoreless in the first 17 minutes of the game, he finished the first half with eight points. 

The Titans trailed by 13 points at the break, and it was clear they still had high hopes of beating their rival.

Detroit Mercy guard A.J. Oliver came out hot in the second half, single-handedly cutting the Oakland lead down to seven points with 17:22 to play.

Oliver was virtually unstoppable, and Damezi Anderson added a few buckets, too. It quickly began to look like the Golden Grizzlies might hand over the lead.

With 10 minutes to play in the game, Oakland led 50-48, and Detroit had almost come all the way back from its 20-point deficit. 

From that point on, Oakland slowly but surely began to stretch its lead, thanks to the heroic efforts of Moore. The senior guard finished with 32 points, 14 of which came at the free throw line. 

“I think Jalen [Moore] had a little chip on his shoulder coming in tonight because the whole prep for this — the whole media was about the guard from Detroit,” Head Coach Greg Kampe said. “He never said anything, but [there was] just a little different way he went about the game tonight.”

For Oakland, it was the eighth consecutive win at Calihan Hall and the 12th win overall in the last 13 meetings. It’s been pure domination of the Titans as of late, and Kampe hopes to continue that streak going forward.

“The game means the world to us,” Kampe said. “We don’t lose to them. That’s the mindset you have to have, and our kids buy into it, and it’s a big deal for us.”

Oakland is now 9-12 overall and 7-3 in the Horizon League, which many may not have expected after the way the season started. 

“We’re 7-3 at the turn,” Kampe said. “0-2 to 7-3, 2-11 to 9-12. Got to give these kids a lot of credit. Now we’ve got to keep going.”