Oakland used a dominating first half to defeat Towson in the quarterfinals of the inaugural Vegas 16 tournament. Oakland was able to withstand second half comebacks by the Tigers to win 90-72. Golden Grizzlies junior point guard Kay Felder showed off his wide array of talents, and why he is considered one of the nation’s top players. He was as good as advertised by driving past defenders to finish at the basket, making three point shots, and dishing the ball to teammates in transition and in the half-court. Felder finished with a game-high 27 points and 7 assists. Freshman center Xavier Hill-Mais was outstanding for Oakland in the low-post, as his game is continually improving. He finished with 16 points, 11 of which came in the opening half. Towson’s biggest lead was four points when they were up 13-9. Oakland then built a 45-28 halftime lead. Oakland increased its lead to 50-30 early in the second half, but Towson did not go away quietly. The Tigers used an 18-5 run to get within seven points, 55-48. But that is as close as the Tigers would get. Sophomore forward Mike Morsell had a big game for Towson with 22 points on 9-17 shooting from the field. Power forward William Adala Moto cleaned up the boards, grabbing 13 rebounds and adding 14 points. But poor free throw and three point shooting really prevented the Tigers from having a chance to win the game. Towson shot just 53.3% from the charity stripe and 19% from behind the arc, while Oakland shot free throws at nearly 80% and three-pointers at just under 37%.
The Vegas 16 got off to a rocky start a couple weeks ago, when the tournament field had to be cut in half from 16 to 8 because they could not get enough teams to participate. Perhaps they need some marketing help too, as there were no more than only a few hundred people scattered in the crowd. The coaches yelling out commands, players communicating with one another, and squeaks of the shoes could all easily be heard on television. Another interesting part was when CBS Sports Network sideline reporter Courtney Alexander interviewed Felder during a first half timeout. The NBA does this sometimes with coaches between quarters. But I have never seen a true in-game interview with a player during a college game’s timeout. Felder was still catching his breath during the interview, but still gave a thorough response.
Towson’s season ends at 20-13. Oakland (22-11) advances to tomorrow’s semifinal game versus the winner of Louisiana Tech and East Tennessee State. All tournament games are played at the Mandalay Bay Events Center and are televised on CBS Sports Network. Wednesday’s championship game will be at 10 pm EST.