Oakland Steals Its Way Past Centenary, 76-64
Thursday, February 12, 2004

Rochester, Mich.—Oakland’s defense seemed to have hands in all of the passing lanes tonight against Centenary College, as the Golden Grizzlies came up with a season-best effort of 17 steals against the Gents on their way to a 76-64 win in Mid-Continent men’s basketball action. DeMarcus Ishmeal (Detroit, Mich.) led OU with six of the thefts as the Golden Grizzlies took advantage of 23 Centenary turnovers and broke a two-game losing streak to improve to 10-15 and 4-9 in the Mid-Con. Centenary, the second place team in the conference coming into the contest, fell to 13-9 overall and 7-4 in the Mid-Con.

Neither team looked comfortable on the floor at the beginning of the game, with the two squads combing to commit five turnovers in the first two minutes of the game. The result was a low scoring affair over the opening minutes and when Chad Maclies hit a shot at the 13:37 mark for the Gents, the game saw its third tie at 8-8.

After Centenary had taken a 10-8 lead, back-to-back three-point shots by Mike Helms (Detroit, Mich.) and Kelly Williams (Detroit, Mich.) gave OU a 14-10 lead. It turned out that Oakland would never trail the rest of the evening. The Gents did come back to tie the score for the fourth time in the half at 16-16 on a Andrew Wisniewski trey with nine minutes to play, but Oakland scored the next seven points and the Gents never got closer than three points the rest of the way. Leading 23-20 Oakland out scored Centenary 9-1 over the final minutes of the half, taking a 32-21 lead on a pair of Cortney Scott (Lansing, Mich.) free throws with a minute and a half left and went on to take a 34-25 lead into the locker room.

After shooting 42 percent in the first half, Oakland increased that mark to 54 percent in the second half. The Golden Grizzlies put their strong shooting on display right away, starting the second half on a 10-2 run over the first three minutes to take a 44-27 lead on a dunk by Helms.

Centenary could not make a dent in the OU lead, with its leading scorer, Wisniewski, going scoreless in the half until nearly 15 minutes had elapsed. The Golden Grizzlies led by at least 13 points and were up by 19 at 62-43 after Rawle Marshall (Detroit, Mich.) capped off a steal with a lay-up with 6:50 to go. Centenary then started to make a move after Wisniewski made his first shot of the half, gradually whittling down the lead until Wisniewski hit a pair of free throws that cut the lead to single digits at 66-57 with 2:44 left. The was as close as it would get for the Gents as Oakland hit 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Helms led Oakland with 21 points and season-highs of nine rebounds and seven assists, with Marshall getting 19 more for the Golden Grizzlies. Ishmeal finished with 12 points, six assists and six steals without committing a turnover. Wisniewski finished with 20 points for the Gents, but shot just 1-of-6 from three-point range. Maclies led all rebounders with 15 for Centenary.