Maybe the grind of playing three straight games against Top 25 teams finally caught up with Oakland University. Perhaps the Golden Grizzlies were still riding the high of beating No. 7 Tennessee in Knoxville and a moment in the national spotlight.
Or maybe it’s just as simple as Oakland coach Greg Kampe put it in his postgame press conference, after his team lost 69-51 to Michigan Saturday afternoon at Crisler Arena.
“They beat us. I don’t have an opening statement. I don’t know what to say. They beat us”
(via @PaulVBlue on Twitter)
Whatever the reason, the Golden Grizzlies’ upset train came to a screeching halt in Ann Arbor. Michigan opened up a 20-point second half lead on Oakland, thanks to a 15-3 run fueled by Darius Morris and Tim Hardaway, Jr. The Grizzlies never cut the margin below 10 points for the rest of the game.
Morris finished with a team-high 18 points for the Wolverines. Zack Novak added 13 points and 12 rebounds. Jordan Morgan also grabbed 11 boards for Michigan, and contributed tough interior defense on Oakland center Keith Benson.
Benson was held to 11 points and seven rebounds, as the Wolverines rotated their big men to stay fresh on defense for frequent double-teaming. Michigan’s frontcourt also did a good job of trying to deny the ball to Benson down low. In the first half, Benson totaled just four points and three boards. He was averaging 18.8 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, coming into Saturday’s contest.
Reggie Hamilton led Oakland with a game-high 23 points, including 6-of-14 shooting from three-point range.
With the victory, Michigan has now won six straight games and improves to 9-2 on the season. Their next game is Thursday, as they host the 1-8 Bryant Bulldogs from Rhode Island. Bryant made the move from Division II last year and play in the Northeast Conference. After that, Michigan opens its Big Ten season against Purdue.
Thursday’s game versus Bryant will be telecast on the Big Ten Network.