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March 4, 2014

Oakland University men's basketball wins opening game of Horizon league tournament in overtime thriller

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

Oakland University men's basketball wins opening game of Horizon league tournament in overtime thriller
Oakland University junior Dante Williams raises his arms and smiles following the Golden Grizzlies' overtime win against Youngstown state University in an opening round game of the Horizon league tournament. Oakland got some clutch shots at the end of regulation and overtime to come away with the victory.

ROCHESTER — The men's basketball game between No. 6 seed Oakland University and No. 7 seed Youngstown State University was the first time a postseason league game was ever played inside the O'Rena, and the Golden Grizzlies took advantage of the opportunity, coming away with a 96-92 overtime victory in an opening-round game of the Horizon League tournament.

Despite trailing by eight points with under three minutes remaining on the clock, Oakland got some big shots toward the end of regulation to force overtime.

Perhaps the biggest shots of the game came via the free-throw line, as with just .6 seconds remaining on the clock and the Golden Grizzlies trailing 81-79, Youngstown State committed a foul on senior Travis Bader while Oakland was attempting an inbounds pass. Bader made them both to send the game to overtime.

Oakland trailed by as many as four points in overtime, but got some more clutch shots from Bader, as well as Tommie McCune to help clinch the victory.

In the game, Bader broke a school record by going 18-for-18 from the free-throw line and finished with 39 points.

Playing at home may have made all the difference for Oakland.

"It's great," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "We battled all year to get home court, and we won because we had home court. The fans were unbelievable. The fans willed us, and we executed."

Bader expressed his appreciation for the support the Golden Grizzlies received.

"The crowd has been amazing this whole season," he said. "It's unbelievable. This crowd has brought energy and picked us up. Late in the second half when we were down eight points, the crowd stayed there and stayed with us; we're very blessed and fortunate to have them here."

Corey Petros added 17 points for the Golden Grizzlies, with Duke Mondy contributing 16.

Oakland advances to face No. 3 seed Wright State in the second round at 7 p.m. March 7 in Green Bay.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.