In an exciting opening round of Horizon League games, the Valparaiso Crusaders, Oakland Golden Grizzlies, and Milwaukee Panthers all advance to the quarterfinals in Green Bay on Friday.
In quite possibly the craziest turn of events, Oakland overcame a four-point Youngstown State lead with two seconds left. Travis Bader hit the 500th three pointer of his career to cut the lead to 1one The Grizzlies then were not able to foul the Penguins until 0.6 seconds left. Ryan Weber missed the first free throw and made the second one. This allowed Oakland to run a set play and Bader was able to draw a foul. He hit both free throws to take the game into overtime, and the Grizzlies were able to win 96-92. Dan Fenner of the Oakland Press was able to capture the moment of insanity:
Travis Bader led the way, scoring 39 points including all 18 of his free throw attempts. Corey Petros helped the Grizzlies with 17 points and 9 rebounds. In the losing effort, Kendrick Perry scored 35 points and had 7 assists.
Milwaukee cruised to a victory over the Detroit Titans. After a 20-9 run to close out the first half, the Panthers were able to withstand a seven-minute stretch without making a field goal and won 83-73. The Panthers were led by five players scoring double figures. Jordan Aaron led the scoring with 16 points, Steve McWhorter had 15 points, Kyle Kelm had 13 points, Cody Wichmann had 12 points and JeVon Lyle had 11 points. The Titans were led by Juwan Howard Jr's 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting.
In Valparaiso, the Crusaders and UIC Flames played in a sloppy game that Valpo won 73-63. The teams shot 41% from the field combined, had 29 turnovers, and committed 53 fouls. Valparaiso was led by Alec Peters who had the only efficient game, with 29 points on 10-for-11 shooting and 8 rebounds. Flames guard Kelsey Barlow was held to 2-for-15 shooting and 11 points. He also fouled out with 5:42 left in the game after he committed his fourth foul on a LaVonte Dority shot and then shouted at the referees.
Oakland will face Wright State on Friday at 7 pm EST and Valparaiso and Milwaukee will play following the Oakland-Write State game. All games will take place in Green Bay at the Resch Center and will be live on the Horizon League Network.