Despite the cold temperatures and icy conditions outside, the play inside the O’rena was fast-paced with the net constantly getting scorched. Oakland outlasted former Summit League foe Chicago State 101-93 on Monday night. Six players on each team scored in double-figures, led by Oakland’s Kay Felder with 23 points and 13 assists. He also had a career high 8 steals. After the Cougars scored seven straight points to go up 7-4, Oakland’s Max Hooper got hot from behind the arc and hit four three-pointers in the game’s first seven minutes. The three-point specialist finished with 15 points. Oakland’s biggest lead came in the latter part of the first half when they were up 36-20. Chicago State chipped away to take a 63-60 lead early in the second half. Once Oakland got back up, they kept the lead for good, leading by as many as 12 points with about eight minutes left.
The team stats were fairly even across the board in this game. Despite shooting 7% less from the field than Oakland, Chicago State actually made four more field goals. This was due to their fast-paced offensive style resulting in an amazing 78 field goal attempts. But the biggest difference of the game was Oakland getting to the free throw line 43 times and making 33 of them, while Chicago State shot very well from the charity stripe at 81%, but only got there 21 times. The free throw discrepancy was due in large part to Chicago State racking up the team fouls early, especially in the first half. The Cougars had 36 total fouls compared to just 20 for Oakland. It is often said that games are won and lost on the free throw line, and this was no exception. Chicago State likely would have won if they just got there more. Despite their 4-11 record, Chicago State is dangerous because they are a balanced and deep team with a lot of scoring threats. Fred Sims Jr. had 18 points, Elliot Cole had 15, and two other Cougars had 13. Six Cougars are averaging at least nine points per game this season. They should be a very competitive team in the Western Athletic Conference this year, and log lots of frequent flyer miles while doing so. Oakland is now 3-0 at the O’rena this season, and their first four Horizon League games will be played there.