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Nick Daniels slammed a water body to the floor, splattering water that settled into a deep puddle near his dressing stall.
Martez Walker, the tough guy from Detroit, broke down in tears. It was a depressed dressing room as players and coaches sat with heads buried in hands among sniffles and muffled sobs.
"He was wide open," someone screamed.
The top-seeded Black and Gold remained in Detroit Saturday night in a state of shock following a shocking 81-80 Horizon League quarterfinals loss to Youngstown State (13-20), a team that played over its head while avenging two double-digit losses to the Golden Grizzlies (24-8).
Oakland throttled Youngstown 101-72 in their last meeting as Jordan Kaufman tallied just eight points and 10 rebounds. Morse was held to 15 points and was just 6-for-19 from the field.
Other than the stunning loss the most difficult part for Oakland was hearing the mad cap celebration of Youngstown players through the paper thin walls at Joe Louis Arena. Oakland is now 0-2 in the Horizon League tournament at Joe Louis Arena and will carry around the label of tournament chokers that will difficult to shed.
Last year Oakland lost to as a second seed to Wright State.
The outside noise could be as deafening as the victorious dressing room.
“I will handle that,” said Oakland Coach Greg Kampe.
Everybody will talk about the wide open layup by Penguins 7-foot center Kaufman (22 points, 10 rebounds, who was free under the bucket because Isaiah Brock left him to double team Cameron Morse (34 points) who made a nifty pass with Daniels draped all over him with time running out.
Brock was caught in no man’s land near the free-throw line when the shoot first Morse noticed Kaufman hovering alone under the basket. He wasn’t the only one running toward Morse. Other players were inching toward him and the best piece of advice would have been to have faith in Daniels to guard Morse for 3.3 seconds. He only had time to dribble a couple of times and fire and off-balanced three point shot.
Morse scored 34 points but was finding it more difficult to score because Daniels fought him tooth and nail defensively.
Brock bit his lip and buried his head when asked what happened. His silence told the tale of heartache and anger. The real victim is senior Sherron Dorsey-Walker who will retire from college basketball having never played in the NCAA tournament for Oakland. The Golden Grizzlies will receive an NIT bid as Horizon League regular season champion. But the NCAA was the goal and players quickly went over to embrace Dorsey-Walker after Kampe’s delayed post-game speech and express their sorrow.
“I liked everything except the last play,” Kampe told his players. “They played about as good as they can play. We made big plays. (But) we missed the front in on a one and one and that is probably the game. You can point to the mistake. You can point to whatever you want but the reality is we missed free throws. And give that kid credit for making that pass. He is a shoot first guy. Instead of firing up a bad shot, he found a guy. He was trying to win the game so you’ve got to give him credit too.”
Oakland also missed layups and tips. But Kampe did not want to have Brock shoulder all the blame for this one. Oakland trailed 75-73 with 2:49 remaining when Dorsey-Walker missed the front in of a one and one. Dorsey-Walker also failed to convert an inbounds pass to Walker with 28 seconds remaining and the Golden Grizzlies ahead 80-79.
What angered Daniels most about the loss?
“Like coach said missing the one and ones and letting them get second chances,” he said. “That really hurt us throughout the game, the second chances.”