Milwaukee, WI - Oakland departed its campus just north of Detroit last week for a regular season-ending two-game trip to Wisconsin knowing it would need some luck to return home as champions of the Horizon League. Trailing Valparaiso by a game, the Golden Grizzlies pretty much knew they would have to sweep Green Bay and Milwaukee and hope for a Valparaiso loss in one of its last two regular season games.
Oakland defeated Green Bay on Friday night, and as its game in Milwaukee restarted after half time, word trickled out that Valparaiso had just lost to Northern Kentucky. An Oakland victory would improve its record to 14-4 and lift the Golden Grizzlies into a tie with Valparaiso for the Horizon League Championship.
Behind the torrid shooting of redshirt senior Sherron Dorsey-Walker (6'4''-G), who connected on eight of eleven three-point shots on his way to scoring a game-high 28 points, Oakland pulled away from a 39-39 halftime tie to defeat the Panthers 86-75 to claim a share of the conference title. 'It feels really good,' said a proud Oakland Coach Greg Kampe. 'I've always believed good things happen to good people especially if those people are will to do the extra work and believe in themselves.'
Dorsey-Walker, a transfer from Iowa State, started the game like he might just shoot the Golden Grizzlies past the Panthers all by himself. He staked Oakland to a 6-0 lead connecting on a catch-and-shoot three-point shot from the corner and another off the dribble from above the top of the key. Milwaukee did not have an answer for the 6-4 Dorsey-Walker as he finished the half with 18 points on six of seven shooting from behind the arc.
'We were double teaming the post and they were able to get the ball out,' said Milwaukee Coach LaVall Jordan. 'We didn't have great communication on our rotations. He (Dorsey-Walker) has the size where he can shoot even if we were there on the close.'
'He (Dorsey-Walker) didn't break a sweat tonight,' said Kampe. 'Sharron has always done the extra work. I had a good feeling he would come through because he deserved it.'
Jordan can hardly be blamed devising a defensive approach designed to take away Oakland's interior scoring while taking his chances on the Golden Grizzlies' shooting from distance. Oakland two most prolific shooters from behind the arc, Dorsey-Walker and redshirt junior Martez Walker, entered the game shooting a combined 32 percent from distance, below average by NCAA division one standards.
But in addition to Dorsey-Walker's hot shooting, Walker had his long-distance shooting game going as well making four of seven three-point shots. A transfer from Texas, Walker finished second on the Oakland scoring list with 21 points. 'It's hard when we put ourselves in a hole that big (in the second half),' said Milwaukee's Brock Stull, whose 21 points led the Panthers in scoring. 'Every time we got a little closer, they'd make a shot and ruin the momentum we had.'
Kampe relied heavily on his starters on Sunday with each averaging over 32 minutes of playing time. But when he went to his bench in the second half, he received a huge lift from sophomore Xavier Hill-Mais, a 6-7, 250 pound big from Greensboro, North Carolina. A back-to-the-basket post player, Hill-Mais went to work shortly upon his insertion into the game at the 15 minute mark of the second half. In between a short shot in the paint, the right-hand dominant Hill-Mais connected on jump hooks with first his left hand and then his right hand.
'That was a big momentum swing when Hill-Mais made those three baskets right in a row,' said Jordan.
Although their numbers did not stand out the way Dorsey-Walker and Walker's did, Oakland got what it needed from its two starting bigs, 6-7 redshirt junior Jalen Hayes and 6-8 freshman Isaiah Brock. Both are run-and-jump post players who fit in well with Oakland's fast-paced attack. Entering the game as Oakland's second leading scorer, Hayes finished with 12 points and used short jump hook shots in the paint with his dominant hand (left) for the majority of his five field goals. Brock fell just short of a double-double scoring eight points and collecting nine rebounds. Two of his three baskets came running the floor and cleaning up his teammates' misses in transition.
Even as Oakland and Valparaiso enter the Horizon League Tournament with identical 14-4 records, Oakland earned the top seed based on its two regular season wins against Valparaiso. 'Since we beat them (Valparaiso) twice, we get the automatic bid to the NIT (National Invitational Tournament),' said Kampe. 'We don't want to go to the NIT, but it's a nice consolation prize.'
Kampe was reflective in his post-game thoughts recalling the time five years ago when Oakland made the jump from the Summit to the Horizon League. 'We had our way in the Summit and if we had stayed in that league, we would have been in the (NCAA) tournament a few more times than we've been in it,' said Kampe. 'Our president asked me if we were going to make the move, can we win? I said 'yes,' but it's not going to be easy. I promised less than five years and this was out last chance to fulfill that promise. It's emotional for me to come through on that promise.'
So it's on to the conference tournament for both schools to be held at the Joe Lewis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings, in downtown Detroit, Michigan from March 3-7. Milwaukee takes on Detroit-Mercy on March 3 while Oakland gets started on March 4 against the winner of the March 3 match-up between Cleveland State and Youngstown State.
In years past, the regular season league champion, Oakland in this case, would have hosted the conference tournament in its own gym. 'It could have been at the O'rena (Oakland's home gym), but I'm glad it's a neutral site,' said Kampe. 'This league needs to wrap its arms around Joe Lewis Arena. It's great for the kids and teams. I just hope we're around for all four days of it.'
Milwaukee heads to Detroit dragging a nine-game losing streak with it. But Milwaukee senior Cody Wichmann sounded upbeat as his team started its preparation for Detroit. 'Anything can happen in the tournament,' said Wichmann. 'No one gave us much of a chance in my freshman year, and we ran the table and won it. It's a possession by possession game from here on out. As coach told us, we've played every team tough at one point this year, and that gives us hope.'
Weng'an, China - Brittany Crain scored 16 points to lead the NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars to a 64-53 win over Canada in front of 3,841 fans in Weng'an in the opening game of a nine-game China tour. Alisia Jenkins added 11 points and eight rebounds while point guard Simone DeCoud contributed seven assists and five steals against only one turnover. Kyanna Pingue-Giles led Canada with 19 points and 11 rebounds [read more]
Weng'an, China - Brittany Crain scored 16 points to lead the NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars to a 64-53 win over Canada in front of 3,841 fans in Weng'an in the opening game of a nine-game China tour. Alisia Jenkins added 11 points and eight rebounds while point guard Simone DeCoud contributed seven assists and five steals against only one turnover. Kyanna Pingue-Giles led Canada with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
The USA All-Stars took an early 19-9 lead before the Canadians battled back to take a 26-25 lead just before halftime. Crain then hit a three-pointer to give the Americans a 28-26 lead into halftime. The Americans then outscored Canada 21-12 in the third quarter to help put the game out of reach. The USA extended the lead to 16 midway in the fourth quarter and then coasted to the win.
It was the first game the Americans played together and it showed. The USA All-Stars took 21 more shots than Canada but shot only 26-for-82 (31.7%) from the field. They did make nine three-pointers (9-of-27) with Crain drilling three and Kari Korver and Leslie Lopez-Wood two each. The Canadians had a +8 edge on the boards but that was mainly the result of the USA missing 15 more shots than Canada. The USA came up with 19 steals and forced Canada into 22 turnovers.
Rachel Mitchell was impressive defensively for the USA coming up with four early blocks and Kiara Kudron (7 rebounds) came up big in the second half with some strong rebounding. Crain also grabbed seven boards and was very active in her time on the court.
NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars Head Coach Perry Huang "I thought this was a good effort for the first time we've played together. We didn't hit our shots but I thought we played good defense most of the time in the second half and started to rebound better. We'll look for improvement in tonight's game."
China was impressive in the opener as they destroyed Lithuania 89-46. Six Chinese players scored in double-figures and they out-rebounded Lithuania by 15. China faces Canada in the first game tonight while the USA faces Lithuania in the nightcap.
ORU hires Baylor assistant Paul Mills as the next Golden Eagle basketball coach - 2 days ago
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Oral Roberts University announced the hiring of Baylor assistant Paul Mills as the next Golden Eagle head basketball coach in a press release Thursday afternoon. After 18 seasons, 328 victories, five Summit League titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances, Scott Sutton was fired by ORU President Billy Wilson on April 10. From a list of about 50 coaches who expressed interest in the position, athletic director Mike Carter is believed to have interviewed five finalists: Mills, current Go... [read more]
Oral Roberts University announced the hiring of Baylor assistant Paul Mills as the next Golden Eagle head basketball coach in a press release Thursday afternoon. After 18 seasons, 328 victories, five Summit League titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances, Scott Sutton was fired by ORU President Billy Wilson on April 10. From a list of about 50 coaches who expressed interest in the position, athletic director Mike Carter is believed to have interviewed five finalists: Mills, current Golden Eagle interim coach Rodney Perry, Iowa State assistant Daniyal Robinson, Baylor assistant Jerome Tang and North Dakota State assistant Kyan Brown. Mills has been a member of Scott Drew's Baylor staff since 2003. Last month, the Drew-coached Baylor program made its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance. A Houston native, Mills played high school basketball at Houston MacArthur and signed to play at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, but his college career was shortened by a back injury sustained during his freshman season. Mills then transferred to Texas A&M, from which he graduated in 1996 with a degree in finance. Before working at Baylor, Mills was a head coach at two Houston-area private high schools: North Belt Christian and Fort Bend Baptist Academy. According to the school's 2014 990 form, Sutton was being paid almost $435,000 per year. ORU is a private school and not obligated to release the details of its employee contracts, but it is believed that the university entered the search process with a preference of not paying a new coach more than $250,000 a year. A source said ORU may not go beyond three years on a contract. The NCAA Division I standard for head-coaching contracts is a five-year deal. Courtesy of: tulsaworld.com
Farokhmanesh headed to Drake as assistant coach - 2 days ago
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Nebraska basketball staffer Ali Farokhmanesh is headed back to the Missouri Valley Conference. Thursday reports of Nebraska's director of player relations and development heading to Drake became reality Friday, as the Huskers made Farokhmanesh's hiring as an assistant coach official with a news release. Farokhmanesh will be the third assistant on Niko Medved 's new staff at Drake, joining Dave Thorson and JR Blount. It will be the former Northern Iowa star's first on-the-court coaching jo... [read more]
Nebraska basketball staffer Ali Farokhmanesh is headed back to the Missouri Valley Conference. Thursday reports of Nebraska's director of player relations and development heading to Drake became reality Friday, as the Huskers made Farokhmanesh's hiring as an assistant coach official with a news release. Farokhmanesh will be the third assistant on Niko Medved 's new staff at Drake, joining Dave Thorson and JR Blount. It will be the former Northern Iowa star's first on-the-court coaching job. Medved, a former assistant to Tim Miles at Colorado State, was hired by Drake May 26 after a four-year stint at Furman. "It is with mixed emotions that I will be leaving the University of Nebraska to accept an assistant coaching position at Drake University,' Farokhmanesh said in a news release. "I want to thank Coach Miles for the incredible opportunity to be a part of Husker basketball. It has been an honor to work with Shawn Eichorst and Marc Boehm, who have allowed me to be a part of a very special university and athletic department. I will always be grateful for the experience of working with Coach Miles and his staff. Under their leadership and trust, I have grown as a person and as a coach. I have had a remarkable three years at Nebraska with some very special student-athletes, and I will cherish those relationships. This program will go on to do great things." Farokhmanesh recently completed his third season on the Husker staff, first joining the Huskers in 2014 as a graduate manager before being promoted to his latest role prior to the 2016-17 season. According to his bio, Farokhmanesh played a major role in creating and implementing a mentoring program, as well as coordinating community outreach with Nebraska's Life Skills staff. He also assisted with recruiting, including on-campus hosting duties. Farokhmanesh, of course, is a legend in The Valley and the state of Iowa after helping lead Northern Iowa to a 30-5 record and a spot in the Sweet 16 in 2010. His three-pointer against Kansas with 34 seconds to go that sealed the Panthers' 69-67 upset landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated and cemented his place as a March Madness legend. Courtesy of: journalstar.com
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