Déjà vu! Raiders find way to beat Loyola again

February 5, 2013

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – It was déjà vu all over again on Monday night at the Nutter Center, where the Wright State Raiders and the Loyola Ramblers met for the second time in nearly three weeks. It would be understandable to excuse the 3,171 in attendance for thinking that they had just witnessed an instant replay. In terms of the score, both contests followed very similar scripts. But on this night, it was a different set of heroes for WrightState who brought home the victory.

In the previous encounter, the Raiders trailed by ten points at the half, cut the margin to a point midway through the second half, only to see Loyola take a seemingly commanding lead with six minutes to play.  That’s when the Raiders staged a furious comeback and pulled out a victory in the game’s final seconds. In that game, Reggie Arceneaux was on fire from beyond the arc, hitting six three-pointers and scoring a career-high 29 points. WrightState won that one 62-61.

On this night, the Raiders (15-8 6-4 HL) trailed 34-22 at halftime, pulled to within 39-36 with 12:02 remaining, before Loyola (13-10 3-7 HL) stretched their lead to 53-40 with 6:34 left to play. From there, the Raiders staged another furious comeback, outscoring the Rambles 22-6 down the stretch to and pull out another victory in the closing seconds by a very similar score of 62-59.

Unlike in their first meeting, Reggie Arceneaux was held scoreless. Loyola’s defense clamped down on him and refused to allow Reggie to touch the ball, limiting him to just four shot attempts for the game. However, a slew of Raiders stepped up to play huge roles in this game’s final outcome.

Because the Rambler defense had taken Arceneaux out of the game, coach Donlon substituted him out in favor of Joe Bramanti with about six minutes left to play and the team trailing by double digits. That move marked the beginning of the Raiders comeback.

“Credit our guys,” said head coach Billy Donlon. “After the first ten minutes of the first half, we saw that how we were guarding them wasn’t going to work. So for the rest of the game, we were trying to find ways. With Jarren Young having two fouls in the first half, we had to play without his athleticism.”

Trailing 53-40, WrightState’s comeback began with a layup by Miles Dixon, and a Jarren Young layup off of a Dixon steal. After a Loyola basket, Young and Dixon connected on 3-pointers, followed by a Kendall Griffin layup to quickly close the margin to 55-52 with 3:59 to play.

Loyola scored their final points of the night on a pair of free throws by Cully Brown to put the Ramblers up 59-54 at the 3:11 mark.

With 2:24 remaining, freshman Joe Bramanti, playing the point guard position, took to ball strong to the hoop, hit the bucket, was fouled, and connected on his free throw attempt, drawing WSU to within 59-57.

Ten seconds later, Bramanti stole the ball, and got it to Miles Dixon who was quickly fouled. Dixon hit both free throws to even the score at 59.

The Raider defense came up with another stop and Cole Darling hit a jumper with 1:18 showing on the clock to give the Raiders their first lead in nearly thirty-five minutes of play, when they last led 5-4.

A Miles Dixon free throw with eight seconds remaining made the final score 62-59. Loyola had one last chance to tie the game, but a Cole Darling steal at the buzzer prevented the Ramblers form attempting a shot.

WrightState used the press throughout the contest, resulting in 31 points off of turnovers.

“Over the last two or three games, our confidence was struggling,” Donlon said. “One of the things that a press does is … it makes you stop feeling sorry for yourself. It just makes you play.”

“We came into the game with the idea to press. But early foul trouble limited our numbers and I didn’t want to press and wear us to thin for the rest of the game. And I thought that helped us late.”

Cole Darling led the Raiders with 17 points.  Jarren Young added 11. Kendall Griffin had a solid game with eight points, seven assists, and just one turnover in 36 minutes of action. AJ Pacher contributed with nine points.

Up next for Wright State is a trip to Wisconsin, where they will take on the Green Bay Phoenix Thursday night, followed by a game against the Milwaukee Panthers on Saturday.


Box Score


Post Game Audio

Dixon and Darling

Coach Donlon



Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar


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