Game No. 17
Oakland 75, Valparaiso 70
The Crusaders let a golden opportunity to steal a road win in the Horizon League slip through their hands on Saturday afternoon. Oakland recovered from a 15-point second half deficit behind the hot-shooting of Duke Mondy (24 points) and Travis Bader (20 points) to win its third straight game over Valparaiso.
Game Ball -- I've got to give this one to the Horizon League for extending the invitation to Oakland and giving us the chance to see two of these games a year. Lord help us if Valparaiso and Oakland play each other in the Horizon League tournament. For reasons that go beyond the ability to explain, the Crusaders and Grizzlies put forth great theater whenever they meet on the hardwood. Saturday was no exception. There was a sense throughout the game that we were building to the final minute of play and even when the Crusaders opened up a 15-point halftime lead, there was still the anticipation that we were going to see more. Kudos to Travis Bader, Duke Mondy, Lavonte Dority and Lexus Williams for putting on a show.
Air Ball -- Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew said it best after the game when he remarked that he felt Oakland won the game, Valparaiso didn't necessarily lose the game. That said, it's hard to find something to complain about here in a classic game, so I'll look at Valparaiso's last possession. Trailing by five points with 12.9 seconds left, Alec Peters grabbed the rebound off a missed Oakland free throw and flipped the ball ahead to Keith Carter. Carter, maybe not understanding how much time was left, dribbled at the top of the key for several seconds without taking a shot. He then dribbled into a trap and the clock expired as he desperately tried to get the ball back to Peters. Coming back from five down in 12.9 seconds wasn't going to happen, but to not get a shot off is unacceptable.
Quotable -- "We've got to find a new league. I mean, three more years with those guys? Valparaiso's got some really good freshmen. Can you imagine what they're going to be like down the road? Unreal." -- Oakland coach Greg Kampe.
Quotable II -- "There were three numbers on our board in the locker room after the game. Zero, one and .79. The zero was for the amount of turnovers we had in the second half. The one was for the amount of offensive rebounds Valpo got in the second half and the .79 was for the amount of points-per-possession that they had in the second half. In the first half they got 1.42 points-per-possession. I told our team that's what we score when we're playing against a non-D1." -- Oakland coach Greg Kampe.
Quotable III -- "This is a long-term, long-time mutual respect rivalry. I'll call Homer tonight and tell him what a great job his son did coaching. It's not like that with Detroit and that's all I'm going to say." -- Oakland coach Greg Kampe when asked how the Valparaiso rivalry is different than the Detroit rivalry.
Up Next -- The Crusaders return to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Friday night to take on Wright State in a nationally-televised game. The Raiders fell 58-53 to Detroit on Saturday afternoon. The game is a rematch of last season's Horizon League championship game.