OAKLAND — Defense wins games.
It’s been a motto for the Oakers and proved to be very true in Saturday’s 65-39 Mountain View Conference win over Riddle.
Oakland senior Andrew Harrington was able to hold junior Nate Hopkins, Riddle's high-scoring guard, to just 14 points.
“He’s a great player, he’s quick and I had to stay on him,” Harrington said. “I was just hyped and ready to go. I also had my team behind me. We work together so if he got past me there would be someone else right on him.”
Hopkins was averaging 29 points per game and contributed 37 in Friday’s game against Oakridge before fouling out.
Harrington forced four turnovers and was able to push Hopkins out to the perimeter and keep him away from the basket. Hopkins was 1-for-6 from the free throw line.
Oakland (12-2, 4-0 MVC) led 13-3 after the first quarter and by halftime the Irish (6-8, 0-4) trailed 33-16.
“We missed a lot of shots in the first quarter,” Riddle coach Russell Hobson said. “We had some looks, we just have to hit them.”
Riddle’s only points came with 3:17 left in the quarter when Hopkins hit a 3-pointer.
In the first quarter Oakland took a 9-0 lead within the first three minutes of the game, but then it took another three minutes to get another basket.
“They played hard,” Hobson said. “I thought they did some things better than they did in previous games. I’m happy with the defense in the first quarter, we did pretty well shutting them down but then they made some adjustments and it took us a while to adjust. But I like how they fought.”
Drake Borschowa stepped up for the Irish with eight points, and six of those came in the third quarter.
Offensively, Oakland relied on Cameron Benzel, who finished the game with 21 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, but coach Jeff Clark was unhappy with the overall effort.
“I thought we were sloppy on offense,” Clark said. “We turned it over too much and were a little sloppy.”
Oakland turned the ball over 19 times. However, it also forced 23 turnovers for the Irish.
After Benzel the Oakers’ scoring was very balanced: Nathan Chastain had 10 points, Sean Winn and Colton Brownson contributed eight points each while Nic Freeman had seven.
Chastain also contributed eight rebounds. Harrington had five points and seven assists.
Oakland will travel to Monroe (11-4, 4-0) on Tuesday, where the top two teams in the conference will play for first place.
Harrington knows his job is to keep Oakland sophomore Zach Young away from the basket.
“We’ll break down their film, have practice Monday and we’ll be ready for their attack,” Clark said.
RIDDLE — Nate Hopkins 14, Borschowa 8, Greer 5, McMichael 4, Hackett 4, Lopez 2, Bewley 2, Wilson. Totals 17 4-10 39.
OAKLAND — Cameron Benzel 21, N. Chastain 10, Winn 8, Brownson 8, Freeman 7, Carson 6, Harrington 5, Roberson, C. Chastain, Miller, Madden, Smith, Strempel. Totals 24 11-21 65.
Riddle 3 13 12 11 — 39
Oakland 13 20 16 16 — 65
3-Point Goals — Riddle 1 (Hopkins), Oak. 6 (Winn 2, Harrington 1, N. Chastain 1, Brownson 1, Freeman 1). Total Fouls — Riddle 19, Oak. 10. Fouled Out — Wilson.