At least there was Portillos

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The Oakland Golden Grizzles came into their weekend series with UIC and opening Horizon League play not feeling too bad about themselves. Yes, they were 0-7 but they had learned a lot of lessons about themselves, made the department a good chunk of money, and managed to get in all of their scheduled games, a very rare feat so far in this 2020-21 season. Plus, they were going to be in Chicago where Greg Kampe is known for loving to eat at Portillos. A well-fed Kampe is a happy Kampe, and that usually makes everything better.

They left Chicago with two more losses and a lot more question marks.

In the first game this weekend, Oakland was looking like a team that had learned some early lessons against greater opponents and ready to make a move in league play. Overall record be damned, they were looking towards 1-0 in conference where it really mattered. They had a lead the entire first half of the game and were doing it without Rashad Williams going off as he ended the night 1-10 from 3 and only 6 points. Strong play from Dan Oladapo and Trey Townsend down low with Jalen Moore running the show and they were in the driver’s seat.

The second half saw a back and forth competitive battle, but in the end, it was the one lesson OU still hasn’t learned this year that was the problem. They don’t know how to win games yet. Oakland lost the game at the free throw line. As Coach Greg Kampe infamously says “There’s two things that don’t last in this world: Dogs that chase cars and basketball teams that don’t make free throws.” Stopping Jamie Ahale who went for 25 points on 8-12 shooting from 3 would have also been helpful.

Less than 24 hours later, the two teams were back at it but things mostly picked up where they had left off. UIC coasted to a 90-73 win in a game that never felt like Oakland really challenged them. Ahale continued his onslaught picking up another 17 points off the UIC bench while Teyvion Kirk went for a triple-double with 22 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds. Oladapo had his 2nd straight double-double of the weekend for the Grizzlies getting 19 points and 18 rebounds but it just wasn’t enough to keep the game very close.

If you look at the individual stats for the two games, there’s some things you could get excited about as an Oakland fan. Williams bounced back from a bad first game to get 20 points in the second game. Townsend nearly averaged a double-double on the weekend at 15 ppg and 9 rebounds and Oladapo put up a huge average of 17 points and 18 boards on the Chicago trip. All of those things couldn’t come together in the most important stat. Oakland is now 0-9 on the season and more importantly 0-2 in conference.

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