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January 11, 2014

Oakland men's basketball beats the University of Detroit Mercy in first-ever Horizon League clash

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Oakland University's (10) Duke Mondy drives the floor while U of D Mercy's Anton Wilson defends.

DETROIT — In what could prove to be a rivalry that will last for years to come between the men's basketball teams from the University of Detroit Mercy and Oakland University, it was the Golden Grizzlies who came away with a 77-69 victory in the first meeting between the two programs since Oakland joined the Horizon League prior to the season.

Oakland head coach Greg Kampe understood before his team even stepped on the court that this was more than just an average regular-season game.

"This was a meaningful game," he said. "We're not playing for ourselves today. This is for Oakland. I knew our fan base would travel. I knew they wanted this. I hope the people of Detroit embrace it. I'm so excited for Oakland to be part of something like this. I think the winner's both teams, because this could turn into something special."

While he would have preferred a different result, UDM coach Ray McCallum was pleased with the attention the game brought to the Titans' program.

"The attention on this game is great," he said. "Great crowd (the reported attendance of 6,976 was the largest at Calihan Hall since 2002). Brings great attention to the Detroit area, which is good. Great atmosphere."

Oakland trailed the Titans 33-25 at the half and by as many as a dozen points in the second. With under seven minutes remaining in the game, the Golden Grizzlies began to mount a comeback and took their first lead of the second half courtesy of a 3-pointer by Travis Bader with 1:38 remaining in the contest, giving Oakland a 71-68 lead.

Corey Petros led Oakland with 23 points, with Juwan Howard, Jr. leading the Titans with 15.

The win gave Oakland's basketball program a clean sweep, as the Golden Grizzlies' women's team beat the Titans 78-63 earlier in the day.

The Titans are scheduled to play next at 7 p.m. Jan. 15 in a home game against Valparaiso.

Oakland's next game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 16 in a road game against Cleveland State.

UDM and Oakland are scheduled to play again Feb. 14 at the O'Rena.

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