Kangas’ 21 leads OU in rout of SDSU


Senior Reporter

The Oakland University men’s basketball

team took a 20 point halftime lead and never looked back as they cruised

to a 74-56 win in their semi-finals match-up against seventh seed South

Dakota State University Jackrabbits. 

The Golden Grizzlies never trailed

in this one, behind a 21-point effort from guard Erik Kangas and a double-double

by point guard Johnathan Jones, scoring 16 points and dishing out 10


It was important for OU to silence

the crowd in Sioux Falls, as the SDSU faithful came out to cheer on

the “Cinderella team” of this year’s tournament.  

“We went to the game they played

against Oral Roberts, and the crowd was going nuts. We knew SD would

feed off the crowd, so building up the lead like that just really took

the crowd out of the game,” said Kangas.


With ten minutes left in the game

and OU’s lead stretched to 22, Kangas got the ball on the right-wing,

spun and quickly put up a jumper with his defender fouling him on the

shot, and if there was any moment that proved that Cinderella wasn’t

going to find her prince on this night, the ball bounced up off the

rim and fell in for two. Kangas would hit the free-throw for the three-point


There was some concern that Kangas

would miss the game with a second-degree sprained left ankle that he

suffered at the end of yesterday’s game. 

OU head coach Greg Kampe admitted,

after the game, that he didn’t believe that Kangas would play. 

“When we walked over and he

was limping, I didn’t think he would play, but our trainer does worked

on last night and all day,” he said. 

Kampe attributed the win to his team

defense, holding SDSU to 29% shooting in the first half. 

“We came out here right from

the start that they were not going to get an easy shot,” he said.

“We wanted to take every three that they shot and contest it, and

I think that was the difference of the game.” 

The Jackrabbits were led by their

6’7”, 225-pound forward Anthony Cordova, as he pounded down lanky center

Keith Benson, finishing with 22 of the teams 56 points. This was proof

that they weren’t afraid of Cordova, as long as they were guarding the

perimeter, Kampe knew his team had a good chance for the win. 

“We said if Cordova gets 40,

we’re going to win because we had to make sure that [Clint] Sargent

and [Garrett] Callahan were not making threes. We had to take every

three away, and when Cordova gets the ball it slows them down. He going

to make some and going to miss some, he was nine for fifteen, from point

blank range, that’s good defense.” 

OU never trailed, and held a double-digit

lead throughout, and shot 52% for the game. 

OU will face the North Dakota State

Bison, which will surely be another home atmosphere for their opponent,

but Kampe believes his team is prepared for anything. 

“This will be our third final

in five years and our guys have been there, they know what the atmosphere

is. We’ve lost one at the buzzer and lost one at the buzzer, so we’ve

experienced every emotion that this game can give you, I think its going

to be an epic battle,” said Kampe.