As the conference season tipped off Friday in the Horizon League, Oakland University didn't got the memo that this was suppose to be a two-team race between Green Bay and Valparaiso.
The Golden Grizzlies returned home after playing six road games in the past month against top opponents consisting of Michigan State, Arizona, and Maryland. Although they lost all six games, playing against a tough nonconference schedule clearly prepared them for the Horizon League.
The upstart Grizzlies, picked seventh in the conference, prevailed in overtime over the Crusaders, 89-75.
Oakland came out of the gate hot against Valpo, jumping to an early 17-4 lead six minutes into the game. They pushed it to a 16-point lead before the Crusaders were able to go on a run and knock the lead down to five at halftime, 36-31.
Kahlil Felder (16.4 points per game) was the go to man for the Grizzlies in the first half as he went into halftime with 15 points. The Crusaders were able to make adjustments at halftime holding Felder to only six points, all free throws, in the second half.
Alec Peters, Valpo's leading scorer (19.0 points per game) was held to only three points in the first half for Valparaiso, and picked up his third foul 30 seconds into the second half causing him to sit. Peters finished well below his average finishing with only seven points.
Keith Carter was able to knock down a 3-pointer for Valparaiso with 11 seconds left to force the game into overtime.
In overtime Felder caught fire again, this time at the free throw line, making nine foul shots to lead Oakland to the win.
Felder finished the game with a career high 32, with 19 of those coming from the charity stripe.
Valparaiso's Tevonn Walker scored 22 points and Keith Carter added 18.
Valpo looks for a chance to bounce back Sunday when it hosts Youngstown State. The Grizzlies are back in action Jan. 8 at Cleveland State