Game 15: Oakland (7-8, 2-0) at Centenary (0-13, 0-2)
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 | 8:00pm
Watch: N/A | Radio: WDFM-AM (1130)
The Oakland Golden Grizzlies head to Shreveport, Louisiana, for the last time ever as they resume conference play in The Summit League. Oakland played a brutal non-conference schedule which saw the team pick up an impressive upset of Tennessee and solid wins over mid-major programs Ohio and Austin Peay. The team also secured two early conference victories at the O'Rena during the first week of December which gives OU the undefeated start in league play. Centenary is in its last year of Division I play, and the results have not been too pretty thus far. Still searching for their first win, the Gents played a mix of elite conference powers and lower level teams in the non-conference but failed to score more points than the opponent every time out.
More On The Opponent
If you're a Centenary fan, there is reason to have hope heading into Summit League play. Out of all of the team's losses, its two closest games were during that first week of December when the Gents very nearly beat Western Illinois and IUPUI on the road. It will take a 40-minute effort, great defense, and perhaps a bit of luck to pull out a win over Oakland, but there is no doubt that a new season is born for this team on Tuesday night. They've played just two home games all year, and the last one was all the way back on November 22. The team has been as far west as Wyoming and as far north as Milwaukee in that span and will be looking to create a buzz at the Gold Dome for a team that probably needs a win or two to generate some more interest in this last DI season.
Centenary Player To Watch: Jeron Trotman
The switch to Division III has caused a lot of personnel movement with the Centenary program to the point where the only name Oakland fans might recognize this year is that of junior Maxx Nakwaasah. Double-X is leading the team in scoring at 10.4 points per game, but the most effective all-around player appears to be sophomore Jeron Trotman. The 6'6" forward is scoring just under 10 points, grabbing 7.8 rebounds, and blocking 1.2 shots in 29 minutes per game. That's a pretty impressive line for a guy who has likely been under-sized throughout the team's non-conference schedule. Centenary is a fairly small team so Trotman may have to deal with the twin towers of Keith Benson and Will Hudson which would favor Oakland, but his numbers indicate that he is a fighter. He just needs to get better at the free throw line where he is shooting just 48.6%.
Oakland Player To Watch: Ledrick Eackles
Tuesday marks the beginning of a new season for Ledrick Eackles. It was about this time last year when the then freshman went from scoring four or five points per game to double digits in 7 of 9 games from the end of December to the conclusion of January. Ledrick has struggled with his shot and shot selection so far this season, so it is hoped that the rebirth of conference season will see the sophomore guard find his touch again. Centenary is without much of a frontcourt which means that there should be adequate room for Eackles to use his athleticism to get to the basket for easy buckets or foul calls.
Oakland has been fairly successful against Centenary and posted a 38-point win over the school in Shreveport last season. However, just one year prior the Gents handed the Golden Grizzlies an embarrassing 20-point loss at the Gold Dome that probably still stings Oakland fans when looking back on the 2008-09 season. While Oakland has the better resume on paper, you never know what can happen in this conference with such big distances between schools.