Men’s Basketball chops down Oakland City in home opener

Hourigan and Burton’s 16 points led Grenadiers in home and conference opener against Oaks

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Brandon Miniard

Freshman Forward Trey Hourigan elevates to score after drawing a foul against Oakland City’s Jacob Sanford (12, right), earning a chance to convert a three-point play.

Brandon Miniard, Sports Editor

The IU Southeast Men’s Basketball team has faced a significant amount of adversity to begin the 2020-21 season, having broken a month-long gameless streak after having traveled to #1 Georgetown on Wednesday, Dec. 9. The ensuing 82-72 loss to the Tigers, while impressive against the top team in NAIA, dropped the Grenadiers to 0-4, their worst start since 2015-16.

That’s before mentioning the COVID-19 pandemic, which postponed their originally scheduled home opener against Bethel University on Nov. 10, the first of many cancelations that prevented the Grenadiers from playing at the Activities Building so far this year. A troubling situation for a team that was 13-2 at home a year ago, and 37-5 over the last three years.

Those two problems were resolved simultaneously on Saturday, Dec. 12, when the Grenadiers opened the home portion of their schedule by hosting River States Conference newcomer Oakland City. Hungry for their first win of the year, the Grenadiers utilized both a scorching offense and suffocating defense to blow out the Oaks 103-65.

“We did a great job defensively,” Head Coach Wiley Brown said. “If you look on film, [Oakland City] was averaging about 90 points per game coming in, and we got them down to a season-low.”

The Grenadiers wasted no time asserting their will in the Activities Building, opening with a 20-7 run. Leading the way was Freshman Forward Trey Hourigan, commanding the post against Oaks’ Center Nathaniel Schmittler to score 14 of his career-high 16 points in the first half.

Joining Hourigan in the early assault were guards Anthony Wales Jr. and Jared Osborne, chipping in with 12 and 11 points respectively, combining for three triples. Freshmen helped pace the Grenadiers to end the half, namely a pair of Caleb Brown three-pointers and a field goal by Hourigan with 10 seconds remaining to give the Grenadiers a 58-36 advantage.

After spending halftime hanging around the bench, their impromptu locker room due to social distancing guidelines, the Grenadiers picked up right where they left off in the second half with an 18-6 surge. Senior Wing David Burton, fresh off becoming the 32nd Grenadier in program history to eclipse the 1,000 point mark against Georgetown, led the way by scoring 12 of his team-high 16 points in the period.

The Oaks failed to build off shooting 41.4% from the field in the first half courtesy of a more intense Grenadier defense. Not only did the Oaks commit 12 miscues in the half, but they shot only 32.4% overall and missed all 11 attempts from beyond-the-arc en route to a shutdown victory for the Grenadiers.

“We enjoyed getting back into the gym and playing after such a long layoff,” Brown said. “I can’t remember how many assists we had, but we shared the ball and kicked it around until we got it to our great shooters.”

Six Grenadiers scored in double figures, led by Hourigan and Burton with 16 each, the latter also pulling down nine rebounds. Osborne was close behind, notching 15 points and a career-high 12 boards for his first career double-double. Donovan McNeal led the Oaks with 13 points while Tyler Camplin and DJ Redding each chipped in 12.

The Grenadiers had a solid edge of the backboard, outrebounding the Oaks 51-43, while also committing only eight turnovers as opposed to the Oaks 20 miscues. 14 of those turnovers were forced, led by Osborne’s four steals.

The most impressive performance for the Grenadiers was from Hourigan, who was an efficient 6-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from the charity stripe in just over 20 minutes of playing time. This matchup was the second straight start for the New Albany High School product, bringing presence in the paint that has been missing from the Grenadiers in the past handful of seasons.

“My mindset was solely set on stopping [Schmittler], who I think had 25 points and 10 rebounds the game before,” Hourigan said. “So I wanted to get inside to stop him from getting the ball into the post.”

The Grenadiers return to action at RSC rival Asbury on Thursday, Dec. 17. However, it will be their final contest of 2020 per an announcement made by the IU Southeast Department of Athletics, all athletic activities will be halted as part of a joint decision made by all regional campuses of Indiana University, effective Dec. 19.

Oakland City (2-5, 1-1 RSC): Donovan McNeal 13, Tyler Camplin 12, DJ Redding 12, Adam Billingsly 7, Jacob Sanford 6, Tewon Kelly 5, Nathaniel Schmittler 4, Beau Hefner 2, Kase Robinson 1

IUS (1-4, 1-0 RSC): Trey Hourigan 16, David Burton 16, Jared Osborne 15, Anthony Wales Jr. 14, Glenn Hill 13, Jocobi Hendricks 10, Caleb Brown 8, Cody Doig 5, John Kinnard Jr. 2, TJ Proctor 2, Cameron Simmons 2