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MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Wright State upsets Oakland to reach Horizon League finals

| March 8, 2016 | Comments (0)

BY DAN STICKRADT

CORRESPONDENT

dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

Twitter: @LocalSportsFans

DETROIT — Wright State made sure the upset trend continued in full force Monday night.

Hours after Wisconsin-Green Bay upset top-seeded Valparaiso, 99-92, in overtime, the Raiders followed suit by stymying the nation’s leading offensive team with a 59-55 triumph over second-seeded Oakland University in the Horizon League semifinals at Joe Louis Arena.

Third-seeded Wright State will face No. 4 Green Bay at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the finals of the Horizon League tournament at JLA with an automatic NCAA bid at stake.

Wright State (22-12) held Oakland, which came in averaging an NCAA Division I-leading 87.5 points and outing, to a season-low in points.

“This is a (Oakland) team that scored over 40 points in each of the last four halves we faced them. To hold them to (25) in the first half and to only 55 was not easy,” said Wright State coach Billy Donlon. “It’s a big win, but we can’t celebrate it. We have one more to go.”

JT Yoho scored the go-ahead jumper with 24 seconds left that put Wright State p 57-55, and Oakland’s Kay Felder missed a layup on the ensuing possession.

Wright State’s Mark Alstork made a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to seal the lid on Oakland’s coffin.

“I’ve been to the conference championship twice before and didn’t win either of them,” said Yoho. “Now we have one more shot Tuesday against Green Bay.”

Oakland (21-11) finished the night shooting only 38.6 percent from the floor. The Golden Grizzlies trailed 33-25 at the half, their lowest first-half total in 33 games.

That came after playing in one game in over two-plus weeks. 

“We know the rules,” said Oakland coach Greg Kampe. “But the double-buy didn’t do Oakland and Valpo any favors. We didn’t play a game in 10 days, and played one game in 16 days.

“We did everything we had to do to win a game like this. We had the lead and ball with two to go. We didn’t finish,” continued Kampe. “There were 6,500 people came down here. We kind of screwed up because we won’t be down here tomorrow and they won’t have this type of crowd.”

Oakland’s previous low for points came in a 71-58 to then-No. 5-ranked Virginia on Dec. 30.

Wright State knocked off Detroit-Mercy the day before and now sent the other-Michigan-based school home packing.

“To come to Detroit and beat the tow hometown teams, it’s quite a feat,” said Donlon. “Now we have to go out there and win one more. (We’ll face Green Bay) and Green Bay plays as hard as anybody in this league.”

Oakland led 13-8 before Wright State went on a 25-12 run to close the first half.

Oakland took its first lead of the second half on a dunk and free throw by Martez Walker which gave the Grizzlies a 45-44 advantage with 8:41 to play. A Jalen Hayes tip-in put OU up 47-44 with 8:02 left.

Neither team could build more than a two-point lead until the waning seconds.

Kay Felder scored 18 for Oakland, but was held to a season-low four assists, all in the first half. Hayes added 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Max Hooper, whose father passed away Sunday, scored nine off a trio of three-pointers.

Alstork scored 18, Yoho added 15 points and Daniel Mortensen chipped in with 11 points for Wright State.

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About Dan Stickradt: DAN STICKRADT | SENIOR EDITOR dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com View author profile.

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