Oakland (13-13) at South Dakota (8-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 14, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: DakotaDome (10,000) -- Vermillion, South Dakota. Television: None. Home Record: Oakland 9-1, USD 5-5. Away Record: Oakland 4-12, USD 2-9. Neutral Record: Oakland 0-0, USD 1-2. Conference Record: Oakland 8-4, USD 4-8. Series Record: Oakland leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Oakland Golden Grizzlies look to continue their late rally towards the pinnacle of the Summit League standings as they venture to the DakotaDome to battle the South Dakota Coyotes.
This will be just the fourth meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. Oakland won the first two encounters last season before South Dakota completed a 97-78 rout of the Golden Grizzlies at the O'Rena on Jan. 19 in the first matchup of the 2012-13 campaign.
Since falling to the Coyotes, Oakland has reeled off five consecutive wins which included decisions over Western Illinois, North Dakota State, and South Dakota State, which are the only three teams ahead of it in the conference standings. Greg Kampe's Golden Grizzlies are now 13-13 overall and just two games behind the Summit League leading Leathernecks with an 8-4 mark versus league foes. Travis Bader, who poured in 31 points versus SDSU on Saturday, has been the go-to-guy all season long. The 6-foot-5 junior guard is leading the nation with 114 makes from 3-point range to tally 22.1 ppg, which is the fifth highest mark among Division I players.
The Golden Grizzlies are going to be tough for anyone to beat if they continue to perform at such an efficient level. They went 16-of-30 from beyond the arc and committed only four turnovers against SDSU in a hard-fought contest. The lead changed hands 14 times in the opening 20 minutes before Oakland hit nearly 60 percent of its field goal attempts to gain control after the break. The strong offensive performance is not something unusual for the Golden Grizzles, as they are second in the conference in scoring (73.0) thanks to an average of 7.3 makes from long distance per game.
While the visitors have yet to lose since the inaugural duel, South Dakota's 80-65 loss to UMKC on Saturday marked its fourth loss in a row and sixth in seven outings. The Coyotes own an undesirable 8-16 overall record that includes a 4-8 mark versus Summit League competition. Although he is not quite as productive as Bader on paper, senior guard Juevol Myles is doing a decent job leading South Dakota with 15.1 ppg on 37.9 percent shooting from the field. The Kansas State transfer has been in a slump lately though, connecting on only 8-of-31 attempts from the field to net 9.0 ppg over his last three appearances. Trevor Gruis (11.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Brandon Bos (10.6 ppg) are both contributing double-digit scoring averages to help the Coyotes come in right behind Oakland on the conference's scoring leaderboard with 71.0 ppg.
It took awhile for Oakland to get the ball rolling this season, but it seems to finally have occurred. The Golden Grizzlies may not catch up to the three schools ahead of them in the Summit League standings with such little time remaining, but they will continue to build confidence to prepare for a run in the conference tourney.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oakland 83, South Dakota 79
02/14 10:41:11 ET