Oakland basketball loses to N.C. State in OT in NCAA tournament: “Difficult because it has ended.”

Oakland basketball loses to N.C. State

Pittsburgh: The remarkable journey of the Oakland basketball team concluded on Saturday. In the second NCAA tournament round, the 14-seed Golden Grizzlies were defeated by the 11-seed N.C. State Wolfpack, 79-73, after an intense overtime battle at the PPG Paints Arena, ending their surprising success just two days after their stunning victory over 3-seed Kentucky.

Oakland basketball loses to N.C. State
Credit: News Observer

It’s a stark contrast to the other night, OU coach Greg Kampe reflected. The finality is what makes it challenging.

Trey Townsend and Jack Gohlke captured the audience’s attention in the latter half. Horizon League’s Player of the Year, Townsend, secured 30 points and 13 rebounds.

Gohlke, contributing significantly, added 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds, succeeding in six out of 17 attempts from the three-point line.

Their efforts, however, couldn’t outpace the formidable presence of N.C. State’s DJ Burns dominated with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists.

He was supported by teammates Michael O’Connell, Mohamed Diarra, DJ Horne, and Casey Morsell, who each scored over ten points. Burns was overwhelming, admitted Townsend. We did our best, but luck wasn’t on our side.

Overtime Drama

The game was knotted at 66 when overtime commenced. Townsend initiated the scoring with a free throw, but Burns quickly countered with a skillful layup.

After Townsend edged Oakland ahead with two more free throws, Burns’s critical offensive rebound and subsequent putback shifted the momentum, giving N.C. State a lead they maintained.

It’s all about how the ball bounces,” Kampe mused on the unpredictable nature of the game.

A mix of strategic plays and crucial shots defined the outcome in the closing minutes despite a late effort from Oakland, N.C. State’s defense and timely scoring sealed the win.

We usually excel in late-game execution, Gohlke noted. Today, we fell short, and N.C. State deserved credit for their defensive efforts, particularly in the crucial moments.

Closing Moments

In the game’s final stages, Oakland overcame an early deficit, capturing a lead with less than four minutes remaining, highlighted by Gohlke’s impactful three-pointer.

However, N.C. State regained the lead with strategic plays despite Oakland’s attempts to clinch the win in regulation time. Kampe regretted the execution in the last seconds, attributing the missed opportunity to a timing error.

The match concluded with a turnover and a missed long-range attempt by Oakland, marking the end of their unexpected NCAA tournament journey.

It’s about the fine margins in the game’s final moments,” Gohlke reflected. “Against Kentucky, those moments were in our favor. Today, we gave everything, but N.C. State executed when it mattered most.

Like their previous game, the Golden Grizzlies had a sluggish start again, missing seven of their initial eight attempts.

On the other hand, DJ Horne quickly found his rhythm, scoring a series of points for N.C. State included a layup, a three-pointer, and a floater, contributing to the team’s first seven points before DJ Burns added with a skillful hook shot, pushing the score to 9-2.

Chris Conway and Jack Gohlke quickly responded for Oakland. Conway, with a dynamic putback dunk, and Gohlke welcomed warmly as he stepped onto the court; he successfully landed a three-pointer on his initial try, cutting the deficit to just two points.

It was astonishing to see such enthusiasm for a substitute so early in the game, remarked Coach Kampe. Gohlke, however, found it hard to get open for most of the first half due to N.C. State’s persistent defensive switches.

Despite these challenges, Oakland stayed within reach, courtesy of additional three-pointers from Blake Lampman and a resurgence from Gohlke, who found his rhythm and significantly reduced the deficit.

By halftime, N.C. State led narrowly, despite their struggles in field goal conversions, holding an advantage in points from the paint.

The second half saw Oakland intensifying their offense, repeatedly feeding the ball to Trey Townsend, who, after initial misses, managed to reduce the deficit with consecutive scores despite N.C. State’s efforts to pull away, Townsend and Gohlke’s consistent performances kept Oakland in the game, with the latter even tying the score at one point.

Coach Kampe commended Townsend’s performance, labeling him as professional-level. Yet, N.C. State managed to regain a lead with quick three-pointers, though Townsend kept the pressure on with his scoring.

As the game neared its climax, the intensity heightened. Oakland and N.C. State exchanged leads with crucial three-pointers and defensive plays.

Townsend and Gohlke kept pushing, closing the gap for Oakland, which trailed by a small margin entering the last segment of the game, setting up a nail-biting finish.



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