COLLEGE MEN’S BASKETBALL: Oakland earns season sweep of Valparaiso

| February 17, 2017 | Comments (0)



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ROCHESTER HILLS — Greg Kampe’s 1,000 career game did hold much significance to the veteran coach in the terms of who Oakland University played Friday — rival Valparaiso.

The Golden Grizzlies improved to 32-3 in Horizon League games when leading at the half and inched into just a game out of first place in the conference with an impressive 82-71 victory over the league-leading Crusaders in front of a sold out crown at OU’s Orena — completing the regular season series sweep of the Valpo.

“It had tremendous meaning for that it’s Valpo. The (1,000th career game), not so much,” admitted Kampe. “We’re a game out with four to go — two at home and two on the road. We’re still in it.”

Oakland (20-7, 10-4) remained perfect in the month of February this season after some rough stretches in conference play back in January and now hold a five-game winning streak. 

“Someone told me that for the month of February, we have been top 10 in the nation with (win percentage) in February over the past 10 years. February has been very very good for us. We’re undefeated (in February) this year.”

Oakland landed four players in double figures, led by Martez Walker’s 23 points. Nick Daniels added 16 points, Jalen Hayes had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Brad Brechting scored a career-high 12 points.

OU also held a 41-30 edge in rebounding and limited the the Crusaders (21-6, 11-3) to only six offensive rebounds on the night.

“And four of them were team rebounds when the ball went out of bounds,” noted Kampe. “I think that was a huge difference in the game. We held a double-digit edge in rebounds when we beat them at their place and we held double-digit edge in rebounds tonight.”

Alec Peters led Valparaiso with 22 points, on 9-of-18 shooting. Shane Hammock added 15 points ad Jaume Sorolla followed with 14 points and nine rebounds for the Crusaders, who have three more road games against one home game down the stretch.

Trailing 18-14 in the first half, Oakland ventured on an 18-2 to help build a 34-27 lead at the break.

Sorolla’s jumper capped a 7-0 run to open the second half for the Crusaders.

Oakland’s Hayes countered with a floater in the lane for a 36-34 advantage that the Grizzlies did not relinquish.

Nick Daniels’ three-pointer from the corner with 12:03 to go gave OU its biggest lead at 58-42. The lead never dwindled to under nine points the rest of the way.

“I think we got our mojo back,” smiled Kampe. “We got our swagger back, whatever it was that was missing back during that stretch in January.”

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