Fans cheer Grizzlies to road win



In its fourth year, the growing, university-sponsored road trip brought the OU faithful to Fort Wayne to cheer on the team.

“Every year it’s grown bigger and bigger, and I think it’s primarily because we ask students to get involved — student congress, student leaders and organizations — so more people talk about it,” said OU President Gary Russi. “It’s been pretty positive.”

Russi said before the game that he expected the team to do well, and after a close first half, they didn’t disappoint.

In a crucial game with first place on the line against the Mastodons (11-6, 5-2), the Golden Grizzlies found themselves up 19-8 just eight minutes into the game.

Junior Reggie Hamilton, who led the team with a career-high 31 points, had 11 in those first eight minutes. He also contributed five assists and six rebounds.

After controlling most of the first half, OU found themselves up 32-22 with just less than six minutes left in the half. IPFW would come back, however, with a 7-0 run late to cut the Grizzlies’ halftime lead to just three, 35-32.

The Mastodons would continue their fight back after the break, eventually leading 44-42 with 16:29 left in the game. After several minutes of back-and-forth play and two lead changes, the Grizzlies used a 13-0 run to take control of the game.

Five players scored during the game-deciding run, including freshman Ryan Bass, who had an emphatic fast-break dunk.

Partly because of early foul trouble to sophomore Drew Valentine and freshman Travis Bader, Bass played a season-high 15 minutes and scored a career-high 11 points.

“We were in foul trouble, but (Ryan) Bass was unbelievable,” Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. “We have a deep team, a good team and we just keep playing.”

Despite the early foul trouble, Valentine added 11 points, reaching double figures in scoring for the sixth time in seven league games.

Senior Keith Benson narrowly missed another double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds. He also blocked four shots, which gave him a share of the Summit League record with 317 career blocks.

The victory was the men’s 18th straight win over a league opponent, as well as their 32nd consecutive league win when leading at halftime.