Oakland tops SDSU despite Williams’ efforts

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

A Kai Williams three-pointer cut a double digit Oakland (Mich.) second half lead down to four with 1:30 left, but SDSU would not score again as the Golden Grizzlies defeated the Jacks 78-68 on Saturday, Feb. 2. The loss dropped the Jacks to a league worst 2-10 record in the Summit League.

SDSU (7-15, 2-10 Summit) kept the game close in the first half trailing by six, 39-33, at halftime before Oakland would stretch the lead to as much as 12 mid-way through the second half.

With 2:29 left in the game, Williams made two straight three-pointers on consecutive positions on passes from Clint Sargent. The Grizzlies (12-10, 7-4 Summit) would go six of six from the free throw line in the final minute to secure the victory and stand all alone in third place in the Summit League.

Williams led the Jacks with 18 points and seven rebounds. He also leads SDSU and all Summit League sophomores in scoring at 14.5 ppg as well as the entire conference in rebounds with 7.8 per game.

Oakland was led by guards Jonathon Jones and Erik Kangas, who each had game highs with 19 points. Jones did his damage inside the arch shooting nine of 12 with seven rebounds and nine assists. Coming off the bench, Kangas went beyond the three-point line for his points by hitting five of seven from three.

Coach Scott Nagy said of Oakland’s guards, “They just whipped us. We didn’t have anyone to guard them.”

Senior Ben Beran, who had 14 points and five rebounds, was also impressed by Jones and Kangas. “Oakland has great guards and are extremely talented. They are some of the best in the league.”

Nagy knows that if it wasn’t for the large free throw margin, Oakland was 15 of 19 while the Jacks were only four of five; SDSU would have had a good chance to pull out a victory.

“When a team shoots 19 free throws and we shoot five, it’s going to be hard to win. I thought we did a good job of staying in the game and competing.”

The Jacks did out rebound the best rebounding team in the conference by a 31-30 margin holding the Grizzlies six rebounds under their season average.

All of the Jacks 15 losses this season have either been losses of 10 points or less or 20 points or more. The loss to Oakland was SDSU’s 18th loss in their last 19 road contests dating back to last season.

Senior Michael Loney added a season high 11 points coming off the bench for the Jackrabbits.

With the Jacks struggles in the first half of the Summit League behind them, the second half has not gotten off to the start they would have hoped.

“The time for talk is over and the players have to do it,” said Nagy. “It’s not enough to play hard anymore.”

The men return to the court this Thursday, Feb 7 when they face IUPUI. Tip off is slated for 7 p.m.