Southern Utah falls to Oakland

Staff and wire services

Published: Sunday, March 6 2011 12:03 a.m. MST

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Reggie Hamilton scored 23 points and Oakland, Mich., shot 53.6 percent to beat Southern Utah 82-66 in the quarterfinals of the Summit League men's basketball tournament Saturday night.

Keith Benson added 19, Travis Bader 13 and Larry Wright 11 for the top-seeded Golden Grizzlies (23-9), who shot 30-of-56 from the field.

Hamilton, who had 21 points in the first half, reached double figures for the 15th time in his last 16 games as Oakland won its sixth in a row and for the 16th time in its last 17 games.

Jackson Stevenett led the eighth-seeded Thunderbirds (11-19) with a game- and career-high 24 points. Ray Jones had 13 and Ramell Taylor 12. The Thunderbirds shot 46.2 percent but made only two 3-pointers to Oakland's eight.

"You can't let a guy score 21 points on you in the first half like that," Stevenett said. "They have a lot of weapons. We were right there but we needed to tighten up some things defensively and they were able to take advantage of our breakdowns."

Hamilton scored eight straight points as Oakland stretched a 36-31 lead to a 46-34 margin at halftime. The Grizzlies then opened the second half with an 11-4 run to take control of the game, going up 57-38 with 17:17 to play on a Benson jumper.

"We had a letdown at the end of the first half, then they defended us well to begin the second half," SUU coach Roger Reid said. "You have to give them credit. Oakland is a very talented basketball team. They're deep and they're experienced."

SUU finished the season at 11-19 while the Grizzlies — who will play the winner of todays IPFW-South Dakota State game in the semifinals on Monday — improved to 23-9. The Grizzlies will be making their fourth consecutive semifinal appearance and are seeking their third straight league title.

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