WSU will try to cool Horizon League’s hottest team

The Oakland Grizzlies (9-12 overall, 4-2) have strung together four consecutive victories in an 11-day span heading into tonight’s home contest against the Raiders (11-10, 3-4) at the Athletics Center O’rena.

“We’re playing a team that has beaten the three best teams in our league, which makes them one of the best teams in our league,” WSU coach Billy Donlon said. “They’ve defended their home court and proven they can beat those teams.”

Oakland has won seven in a row at home, with three of them coming against league-leading Wisconsin-Green Bay (6-1) as well as Valparaiso and Cleveland State, who are tied for second at 6-2.

The Grizzlies have done it with a diverse inside-outside attack that has sophomore point guard Khalil Felder and senior center Corey Petros combining to lead the league in six categories.

Felder is first in assists (7.2), steals (2.2) and minutes played (38.5), while Petros is tops in rebounding (7.9), offensive rebounds (2.9) and field-goal percentage (.583).

“We’ve certainly got our hands full,” Donlon said. “With our lack of depth at the center position, we’ll probably have to do everything we can to provide help on Petros. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to try to do things to guard Felder. It’s a tough task to guard them.

“My initial thought is we have to try to keep Mike (Karena) in the game as long as possible,” Donlon continued. “Corey Petros played all 40 minutes (Monday) night against Cleveland State.”

As did Felder and Dante Williams. Petros averages 36.1 minutes per game, which ranks second in the league, and Dante Williams averages 34.1, giving Oakland three of the top six leaders in minutes played.

“We’re going to have a really hard time trying to figure out what we’re going to do against those guys if we can’t have Mike out there for 25-30 minutes,” Donlon said. “One of the things that aided our team last year against (Oakland) was we had nine really good players and I thought our depth wore them down.

“That is not our ability right now. Our guys who play are going to have to log major minutes and play well in them for us to have a chance against them.”

Wright State went 3-0 against the Grizzlies last year, winning 76-64 at home and 72-71 at Oakland in addition to a 73-57 triumph in Green Bay, Wisc., in the Horizon League tournament quarterfinals.

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