ROCHESTER, MI—Oakland shot a season-high 65 percent from three and 52 percent overall as the host Golden Grizzlies shot down IUPUI, 85-71 inside the Athletics Center O'rena on Thursday night. Junior Reggie Hamilton tallied a career-high 28 points and hit 7-of-8 from three in the win while freshman Travis Bader hit for a career-high 18 on five threes. The Golden Grizzlies connected on 15 treys, one shy of their season-high, in the win.
Alex Young and Leroy Nobles paced IUPUI with 18 each and Stephen Thomas added 14 in the loss. The loss was IUPUI's fifth-in-a-row at Oakland and snapped the Jaguars' season-long three-game winning streak.
"You can't give up 85 points or 15 threes and expect to win. That's the bottom line," IUPUI Head Coach Ron Hunter said. "We let them get up on us early and that was that. We used a lot of energy to try and get back in the game in the second half and just couldn't get over the hump."
Easily the biggest team in The Summit led by 6-foot-11 reigning Player of the Year Keith Benson, ironically Oakland used the long-range attack to build its early lead. The Golden Grizzlies pumped in five threes in the opening eight minutes and exploded out to a 23-11 advantage less than 10 minutes in. The Jaguars crept back within eight, but the Golden Grizzlies used a late 10-0 run before taking a 50-31 advantage to halftime.
In all, Oakland hit 8-of-13 from three in the first half and outrebounded the Jaguars 23-14, despite Benson playing just 10 minutes with two personal fouls.
Oakland (10-8, 5-0 Summit) pushed its lead back out to 20 at 67-47 with 12:18 to play, but the Jaguars showed some moxie and made it a game with a three-point display of its own. Senior John Ashworth hit his first at the 11:51 mark and Hunter opted to call a timeout to try and settle his troops. After an Oakland miss, Nobles stroked a jumper from the left wing to cut the lead back to 14 with 11:18 remaining. Hamilton temporarily stopped the bleeding with a runner off the glass, but Ashworth responded when he rattled home a corner three on the Jags next trip.
On OUs next possession, Thomas stripped Hamilton near midcourt, leading to a wide open Nobles triple to make it a 10-point game.
IUPUI (8-9, 2-2 Summit) missed two cracks to get within single-digits on its next offensive possession and was only briefly able to get within nine the rest of the way. After IUPUI closed within nine, Oakland scored eight straight capped by back-to-back threes from Hamilton and Benson to blow the game open. Benson was limited to just nine points, five boards and five blocked shots in 23 foul plagued minutes. 6-foot-9 senior Will Hudson helped pick up the interior slack with eight points and seven boards and Oakland outrebounded the Jaguars 38-31 in the win.
"I thought we did a decent job on their bigs, but they really opened it up for their shooters. It seemed like everything they threw up went in. Credit them, they sound some seams and hit shots," Hunter said.
Young hit 6-of-15 shots and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in the loss and Thomas contributed five boards, three assists and two steals. IUPUI made just 42 percent from the field and 7-of-21 (33.3 percent) from three. The most impressive number on the IUPUI stat sheet may have been turning the ball over just four times, marking the fewest in the programs Division I era.
"We have to take good care of the basketball and we should take good care of it. Weve got veteran guards and we can handle it at all five positions," Hunter said. "Offense wasn't what beat us tonight though, it was that we didnt guard them like we should've."
Ashworth chipped in eight points and three assists in the loss and Christian Siakam tallied six off the bench. IUPUI outscored Oakland 22-16 in the paint and 12-8 off turnovers, but couldnt come close to overcoming the 24-point discrepancy from behind the arc.
The loss was IUPUI's first of the season when scoring at least 69 points while the 85 points allowed were one short of the most by a Jaguar foe in 2010-11. Oakland won for the 13th straight time in Summit League play and for the 23rd straight time at home in league play. The Golden Grizzlies advanced to 29-1 in its past 30 league contests.
IUPUI will cap the two-game road trip on Saturday afternoon when it heads to Fort Wayne to take on IPFW inside Memorial Coliseum. The two schools split the home-and-home series a year ago with each squad picking up road wins. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. with Scott McCauley (play-by-play) and Austin Parkinson (analyst) calling the action, beginning at approximately 1:55.