Tuesday November 5 By: Ryan Taegel
ROCHESTER- Although it was only exhibition games, this Oakland team has shown us what to expect from the Golden Grizzlies this season.
Three words have been a constant when Head coach Greg Kampe, now entering his 36th season at the helm, talks about his squad: size, strength and athleticism.
“We have the ability, the players and the size and length to be a very special team defensively,” Kampe said after his Grizzlies defeated Saginaw Valley State 84-63 at the O’rena Wednesday night. “That’s going to be our calling card which is a lot different than it’s been around here for years.”
Oakland showed full control for the better part of the game, a much-welcomed sign after narrowly escaping a major upset last week at the hands Rochester University. The major difference in this game was simply free throw shooting.
Oakland shot 80 percent going 23-29 from the stripe. A massive step up from their abysmal performance in their last game when they shot just 48 percent. The ability to make the freebies will play a huge role in the overall success for this year’s team.
“I don’t think were going to be a team that shoots 80 percent from the line,” said Kampe. “But I do think were going to be a team that shoots a lot of free throws. But we have to make 70 percent of them. We can’t be 65.”
Even with a much more complete and dominant effort from the Grizzlies, there are still some concerns as they now shift their focus to the regular season.
Again, Oakland could not buy a basket from the perimeter. The Grizz went 5-18 from behind the arch against SVSU. The outside shooting doesn’t appear to worry Kampe much right now as he is still trying to determine rolls for players. But with the physicality of Oakland’s play, the risk of wear and tear on the Grizzlies big men could factor in at some point.
Midway through the first half, Oakland senior Xavier Hill-Mais stole a pass from SVSU’s Myles Belyeu and completed the runout with a thunderous slam. Mais then came down hard on his lower back and was to be checked out after the game by team doctors.
Mais lead all Golden Grizzlies with 26 points but showed more focus on his abilities on the glass.
“Rebounding has to be at the top,” Mais said. “We have a lot of guys who can get it done on the defensive end, but it doesn’t mean anything if we can’t secure a rebound.”
Now it’s on to the games that count for the Golden Grizzlies. Oakland will tip-off their regular season against Goshen College Tuesday, Nov. 5 inside the O’rena at 7 p.m.
Featured Photo:Athletics Center