Grizzlies advance to second round of the CIT with win over Bowling Green

By Kevin Romanchik

Second half adjustments by the Oakland University men’s basketball team fueled the 86-69 home victory against Bowling Green State University in the opening round in CollegeInsider.com Tournament on Wednesday night.

After missing three-straight crucial free throws in the Summit League tournament loss against Southern Utah, senior guard Reggie Hamilton wasn’t phased.

“It’s a good thing that we can look back and see 14-for-15 (free throws made) and hopefully forget about what happened (against Southern Utah),” Hamilton said. “Because I’ve already forgotten about it.”

On top of being almost perfect from the line, Hamilton set the record for the CIT single game, scoring 39 points. He was also 5-of-6 from outside the arc.

“There isn’t anyone in the country that can guard Reggie Hamilton,” Kampe said. “He’s an unbelievable talent with the ball. He gets carried away sometime but all great players do.”

Travis Bader finished with 21 points and shot 62 percent from the FG. Ryan Bass added six points and Drew Valentine had three points and eight rebounds.

After starting, center Kyle Sikora went out early in the first half feeling the effects of a minor injury in practice, Corey Petros picked up the slack. He finished with 11 rebounds, which was his first double-digit effort in 11 games.

Even though Dante Williams only played seven minutes, Kampe praised his effort which included a key three-pointer late in the game that added to his career-high seven points on the night.

“I thought Dante (Williams) played pretty good tonight,” Kampe said. “I haven’t played him much lately … he’s long, athletic and can guard and if he can finish like that, we’ll play him more.”

Oakland shot 28-of-59 collectively from the FG, which was the same result as BGSU. Fortunately for the Grizzlies, BGSU was only 3-of-20 from the three-point line.

The Grizzlies outrebounded BGSU 39-28 and are now 11-4 this season when controlling the glass.

BGSU guard Jordon Crawford posed some problems defensively for the Grizzlies, finishing with a team-high 21 points and shooting 53 percent from the FG.

Oakland couldn’t get anything going offensively in the early first half, shooting 1-for-8 from the field but turned it with a 12-2 run to regain the lead. After leading with as high as six points, the Grizzlies went into halftime  with a three point lead.

Early in the second half, the Grizzlies had a similar offensive struggle like the first that opened the door for the Falcons to take a four point lead. The team started 2-of-9 from FG but back-to-back three pointers from Hamilton gave Oakland momentum

“I was mad at (Hamilton) because he turned down some shots in the first half,” Kampe said. “He made a couple (shots) then became the Reggie (that Oakland is used to).”

When asked if the team would take the foot off the gas, considering it isn’t the NCAA tournament, Hamilton believes in the importance of the CIT still being a national tournament.

“We’re taking the approach that this is (like) the NCAA tournament because it’s a national tournament,” Hamilton said. “If we win, it will be big for not only the players but for the university as well.”

The Grizzlies now hold the upper hand winning their fourth straight victory against BGSU and control the all-time series at 4-3.

Oakland returns to the O’rena on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Buffalo (20-10, 12-4 MAC) in the second round of the CIT.

“We are going to try to play the best we can and try to win this tournament,” Kampe said. “This is very important to us, and every bit as important as the NCAA tournament.”