OU blows 12-point second-half lead, collapses in overtime against Milwaukee


Jose Juarez, Oakland University Athletics

Freshman guard Osei Price had 11 points in 28 minutes Friday night.

The Oakland men’s basketball team looked to go 2-0 on its Wisconsin road trip on Saturday, Feb. 11 as the Golden Grizzlies took on Milwaukee at the UWM Panther Arena. Oakland got off to a great start, but it blew a 12-point second-half lead as it fell to Milwaukee in overtime, 80-77.

The loss sends Oakland back to 9-7 in the Horizon League, which currently puts it tied for fifth place in the league with Wright State.

It was the same cast of starts for Head Coach Greg Kampe’s team in the loss. Junior forward Trey Townsend led the way in scoring with 21, and fifth-year senior Jalen Moore added 19.

Moore’s 19 points came in spite of a rough 0-7 night from beyond the arc. The guard made seven two-point field goals, and he added five points at the free throw line to reach 19.

The Golden Grizzlies opened up a nine-point lead less than six minutes into the game, and it seemed Kampe’s team was on a mission to pull off the upset against the 11-4 Panthers.

Oakland’s offense was clicking, and the Golden Grizzlies maintained a lead for more than 17 minutes in the first half. The lead grew to as many as 14 points, but Milwaukee trimmed it back to 10 going into halftime.

The feisty Oakland squad was doing a tremendous job early in the second half of keeping the Panthers at bay. The league-leading Milwaukee squad did everything it could to cut into the lead, but the starting five for the Golden Grizzlies wouldn’t give up any ground.

Halfway through the second half, Oakland had outscored Milwaukee by a point, and the Golden Grizzlies held a 68-57 lead with 10 minutes to play.

However, the offense went suddenly cold. Milwaukee cut the deficit to just one point with 5:11 to play, and Oakland just couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end of the floor. 

The Panthers tied the game at 75 with 1:30 to play. Neither team scored in the last 90 seconds, though, and the game went into overtime. 

The offenses continued to sputter in the five-minute overtime period. Townsend started things off with a jumper, but Milwaukee answered with five straight points, and a 3-pointer by B.J. Freeman proved to be the game-winner.

The abysmal scoring down the stretch cost Oakland an upset and a potential big shift in the conference standings. Two points in overtime is not typically going to cut it, even against the worst teams in the conference — let alone the best.

However, the two-point overtime may not even be the worst mark of the game for Oakland. 

The Golden Grizzlies only went six players deep, while the Panthers went 10 deep. Oakland’s sixth man, Osei Price, scored two points, and those were the only bench points for the team that night.

Five starters combining for 75 points in a game is very solid, but when the opponent also scores into the 70s and 80s, bench points make all the difference.

Milwaukee finished with 28 bench points compared to Oakland’s two, and that helped the Panthers avoid the upset. 

Oakland will now head back home to close the regular season on a four-game home stretch as it looks to end the season on a high note.