Felder leads as Oakland takes down Detroit this time

Jim Spadafore
Special to The Detroit News

Rochester — Oakland University wanted revenge real bad after getting blown out by bitter rival Detroit, 74-54, last month.

Kahlil Felder made sure the Golden Grizzlies would be celebrating Sunday.

Felder scored 29 points and had eight assists to lead the Grizzlies to an 83-78 victory over the Titans before an O'rena-record crowd of 4,101.

For two days after the Grizzlies were routed by the Titans, Oakland coach Greg Kampe was a bear to be around. Felder said he tried to avoid his coach as much as he could for those 48 hours.

"After what happened to us at Calihan Hall we had to readjust," Kampe said. "Today, we played very well in the most important game we play. We've played them twice here and both times we set attendance records. Color me 50 shades of happiness."

The Grizzlies, who have won eight of their last 10 games, improved to 13-14 overall and 8-4 in the Horizon League. The Titans dropped to 12-16, 5-8.

Oakland took home the first Michigan Sports Hall of Fame Cup, which goes to the winner of this rivalry. The teams split two games this season but the Grizzlies get the Cup because they have the higher RPI ranking when the game was played.

Felder, a 5-foot-9 sophomore from Detroit Pershing, made 10 of 10 free throws and 9 of 16 field goal tries. Felder, the only player in the country to average at least 17 points (17.0) and seven assists (7.5) — took over down the stretch. With OU clinging to a 74-73 lead, he scored seven consecutive Oakland points to put his team up 81-77. Ralph Hill sealed the victory with two free throws with 3.8 seconds left.

Felder scored 18 of his 29 points in the second half.

"I'm the leader of this team and I had to take over," Felder said.

Even though he picked up two quick fouls in the first 1:27, Felder didn't come out until a brief two-minute break in the second half. He played 38 minutes.

"There's no way I can take him out," Kampe said. "See what happened when I took him out and we went from a 16-point lead to 10."

Oakland also got strong performances from redshirt freshman guard Nick Daniels, senior center Corey Petros, senior forward Dante Williams and junior forward Tommie McCune. Daniels scored 14 points (6-of-8 shooting) and had three steals in 17 minutes. Petros shot 5-of-5 from the field and scored 11 points. Williams helped hold UDM leading scorer Juwan Howard Jr. to nine points and 3-of-11 shooting.

And McCune made a key hustle play with 2:33 left. McCune, after making the first of two free throws, missed the second but grabbed the rebound and scored on a putback to put OU up 74-71.

"We let McCune get a rebound on that miss because we didn't block out and that hurt," Howard Jr. said.

The Titans trailed 46-33 at halftime but stormed back to take a 67-64 lead with 6:17 left. The lead never got more than three by either team until the last seconds.

"Two teams that really needed a win," UDM coach Ray McCallum said. "We came out in the second half and made plays and got back in the game. But they made the plays late."

Jim Spadafore is a freelance writer.