Oakland University has come up empty in 20 games against in-state opponent Michigan State.
The Golden Grizzlies will try again when they visit the Spartans (7-4) in East Lansing, Mich., on Wednesday evening, though their chances of ending the streak appear dim.
Oakland enters the contest with a 2-10 record and a seven-game losing streak.
“Oakland-Michigan State is always something to look forward to,” Golden Grizzlies coach Greg Kampe said. “It’s exciting. It’s always played right before Christmas. It’s a staple of our program. It’s a staple of Michigan State’s program. Never beat ’em.”
In their latest outing, the Grizzlies lost 77-57 to Boise State on Sunday. The game followed a familiar script. Oakland shot 35.9 percent from the field and made just 5 of 27 3-point attempts.
Oakland is shooting 42.7 percent overall this season and 30.7 percent from long distance. Trey Townsend (18.3 points, 7.7 rebounds), who scored 30 in the loss to Boise State, is the team’s primary source of offense.
One of its starters is former Michigan State guard Rocket Watts. He’s averaging 8.3 points while shooting just 34.2 percent from the field.
Watts transferred to Mississippi State before returning to the state of Michigan.
“I felt like if we didn’t have the COVID summer where we couldn’t practice, Rocket would have been fine here. I really believe that in my heart,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. “And so I think it’s been unfair to him.
“Then he transfers, and everybody thinks that’s the golden ticket — and that’s not the golden ticket, because you’ve got to learn a new system, you’ve got to live in a new environment. And then the coach gets fired. So that hasn’t been fun for him or fair to him. And now he gets (to Oakland) and it’s another new system.”
Guard A.J. Hoggard is looking forward to facing his former teammate.
“It’s going to be a fun opportunity for us and also definitely a big opportunity for him to get back here and play,” Hoggard said. “But I just think we’re going to approach the game as a regular game and just go out there and handle business how we should.”
The Spartans, who have split their past four games, haven’t played since defeating Brown 68-50 on Dec. 10. Joey Hauser led the way with 22 points, while Hoggard added 17.
Tyson Walker leads Michigan State in scoring at 14.0 points per game, followed closely by Hauser (13.9) and Hoggard (13.1).
Hauser is the Spartans’ top rebounder with 7.4 per game, while Hoggard is the leader in assists at 5.7 per game.
–Field Level Media