Sunday, February 21, 2016

Felder's double-double good enough in OU's 74-63 win at UIC despite fouling out

Another game, another Kay Felder showcase.

Felder scored 20 points and dished out 10 assists and finished with at least 15 points and 10 assists for the 15th time this season, but fouled out with 2:31 left in regulation.

Oakland picked up the slack and used four free throw makes from Nick Daniels in the final minute of play for a 74-63 win on the road at Illinois-Chicago on Sunday afternoon at the UIC Pavilion.

For the first time since the 2011-12 season, the Golden Grizzlies hit the 20-win mark, but for coach Greg Kampe, the loss to the Valparaiso Crusaders on Feb. 19 still rings fresh in his mind.

"On Friday night, we were playing for the championship [at Valparaiso] and had an emotional basketball game in which we came out on the short end of things, but knew if we win out, we can get the No. 2 seed and it was a huge game for us [at UIC]," Kampe said. "I was really pleased with our effort despite not having great energy at certain points of the game."

Felder's 10 assists stuck out to Kampe because of the unselfishness creating opportunities for other players to shine.

"That's Kay being Kay," Kampe said. "He can get his own shot at anytime and score 30, but I don't think we would be a great basketball team. The great thing about Kay is that he gets all of the players involved and is an unbelievably unselfish player."

Jalen Hayes showed why he tops the Horizon League in rebounds per game at 9.2 with a game-high 13, to go along with 15 points.

UIC coach Steve McClain witnessed first hand what Hayes and others did with Felder in foul trouble for the majority of the game.

"They have really good depth," McClain said. "Their ability to withstand Felder's loss shows how far they can go."

Game Summary:

Felder impacted the first eight points of the game for Oakland with a step back jumper from 17-feet out to open the scoring and back-to-back precise passes to Daniels for long range makes.

The lead exchanged on three different occasions as Felder scored two in the stanza and with Kampe rotating players in and out of the lineup looking for consistency.

With the Golden Grizzlies down 23-20 with 6:59 left in the first half and in a need of a spark, Felder arrived once more and spawned a personal 9-3 run in 2:02 to go ahead by six.

The Golden Grizzlies would maintain the lead for the remainder of the half and went into the locker room with a 39-34 advantage over the Flames behind 15 points and six assists from Felder.

Once Felder fouled out with 2:31 left and Oakland ahead 68-62, he believed his teammates would pull through.

"It was a boneheaded play like coach [Kampe] said, but I knew our guys pulled out just like at Milwaukee and that is what great teams do," Felder said. "When great players go down, ones like Nick Daniels stepped up."

Daniels blossomed with four straight makes in the final minute after seven straight misses by Oakland beforehand.

Oakland came into Sunday's game as the second-best free-throw shooting team in Division I, but Kampe would never have known after an 11-of-21 performance.

"We are the second best free-throw shooting team in the country, but if you didn't know any better, than you would have thought we were awful tonight," Kampe said. "Nick was our player of the game and stepped up down the stretch and made free throws."

Kampe believes the Golden Grizzlies are not one-dimensional and can lean upon other players outside of Felder to contribute and will play a big part in clinching the No. 2 seed in the Horizon League Tournament with a win against Detroit Mercy on Feb. 26.

"We have a lot of great players that go deep, not just shooting from Felder and rebounding from Jalen and that is what makes us a great team," Kampe said.

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