Travin Thibodeaux sets career-high at #RV Oakland

Courtesy of UNO Athletics

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ROCHESTER, Mich. – In the season opener at St. John’s, Travin Thibodeaux matched his career-high. It only took two games into his senior campaign to set a new mark, as the forward scored a career-best 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting, but the three-point barrage from #RV/RV Oakland University (2-0) was too much to overcome as the University of New Orleans (0-2) fell to the Golden Grizzlies, 87-68 Monday evening at the Blacktop at the O’rena.

Thibodeaux showcased what made him one of the top passing forwards in the nation last season with four assists to go with six rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots. As a unit, the Privateers shot 51.5 percent in the second half, outscoring the Golden Grizzlies 87-68.

“We failed to execute our game plan,” said head coach Mark Slessinger. “We were very aware of how well they shoot the ball from three-point range and [were] rightfully receiving votes in the top 25 nationally. I’m disappointed we didn’t guard at a high enough rate and the buck begins with me. We had to make stops in the perimeter, but these games reveal character. We made it ugly in spurts and the guys problem-solved against one of the best mid-majors in the country. We have corrections to make, but these games definitely make us a better program down the stretch.”

New Orleans showed it could rally in a hurry, muscling its way back into the game with an 11-0 run later in the first half and the unit of Michael Zeno, Damion Rosser, Troy Green, Makur Puou and Thibodeaux began the second half 9-for-9.

Puou, Green and Zeno reached double figures, with Puou setting a new career mark as well with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists. His previous high was 13 versus Southeastern Louisiana on March 2. Green finished with 11 points, five rebounds, five assists and four rebounds, and Zeno added 10 points and three steals.


Oakland jumped out to a 13-4 lead forcing a New Orleans timeout. After the break, there was a delay due to a clock malfunction twice. A 13-0 run allowed the Grizzlies to jump out to a 26-6 lead before Thibodeaux’s second jumper of the ballgame at the 11:25 mark.

Oakland was lights-out from behind the arc, going 8-of-10 to extend its lead to 37-12 with 7:12 left in the first quarter.

An 11-0 run by New Orleans with Zeno, Rosser, Green, Puou and Thibodeaux on the floor made it 41-26 until 58.5 ticks remained in the opening stanza. At the half, the Golden Grizzlies led 46-26.

Green was the team leader, heading into the half with eight points and two assists. Zeno, Thibodeaux and Puou added six points apiece to round out the scorers for UNO.

Oakland shot 60.0 percent from the floor and cooled down from three-point range to end the half 8-of-15. Kendrick Nunn, the nation’s first offensive player of the week, led all players with 16 points – 12 coming from long distance – and two blocks. Brailen Neely dished out six assists and Martez Walker added 11 points and four boards.


New Orleans came out firing with the same lineup that went on the 11-0 run, cutting the deficit to 14 with 16:48 left to play following Rosser’s jumper.

At the under 16 media, the Privateers trailed 56-40, beginning the half going 7-of-7. Puou, Thibodeaux and Zeno reached double figures with 10 points apiece. Forcing a Nunn turnover, the “Blue and Silver” condensed the Golden Grizzlies’ lead to 14 on Thibodeaux’s layup, as the Privateers extended its perfect streak in the second.

The defense buckled down to force four turnovers prior to the 12:00 minute marker, and the group shot 8-of-11 from the floor but the three-point Golden Grizzlies shooting kept the lead in double digits.

Thibodeaux’s free throws with 9:09 left to play gave the senior forward 18 points, matching his total at St. John’s and his career-high.

Oakland finished 14-of-25 from three-point range to improve to 2-0 on the season taking the game 87-68. However, the second half showed spurts of dominance for UNO with the Privateers regrouping to go 17-for-33 from the floor in the stanza, outscoring Oakland by one in the half.


Walker finished with 25 points and Nunn added 24 points, six assists. The duo combined for 12 triples.

New Orleans took the edge in steals 9-to-4 and cut back on turnovers, one of the biggest keys during practice, tallying just 10 after 20-plus in Friday’s season opener.

Next up, the Privateers head to Memphis to battle the Tigers Nov. 21 on ESPN3 at 7 p.m. The contest will be at FedEx Forum, home of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the Memphis Tigers.

Fans are encouraged to follow @PrivateersMBB on Twitter, @PrivateersMBB on Instagram, like /PrivateersMBB on Facebook and subscribe to the PrivateerAthletics YouTube channel.

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Travin Thibodeaux sets career-high at #RV Oakland