Purple Aces turn the Raiders blueFebruary 24, 2013
By Mike Klingshirn
DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders ventured outside of league play on Saturday afternoon, only to suffer one of their worst defeats of the season, at the hands of the Evansville Purple Aces from the Missouri Valley Conference, by a final score of 70-58. An impressive contingent of a few hundred Evansville fans made the trip to the NutterCenter, helping to lift the number in the house to 3,428.
The Raiders (18-10, 9-5 HL) were without the services of their top two scorers (Reggie Arceneaux and Cole Darling) for the second consecutive game due to injury. Freshman J.T. Yoho did his best to help fill the void by recording his first double-double, scoring twenty points and pulling down eleven rebounds … both career highs. Unfortunately for WrightState, he was one of the few bright spots for his team.
Evansville (16-13, 8-8 MVC) opened the contest by scoring the game’s first nine points, and the Raiders got no closer than five all afternoon long.
“We were absolutely hammered,” said WrightState head coach Billy Donlon. “Sometimes you’re the hammer, and sometimes you’re the nail. Today we were the nail.”
The Aces scored early and often, bolting to a 17-3 lead, just five and a half minutes into the contest. By that time, coach Donlon had already burned two time-outs in an effort to help stem the tide.
“In those time-outs, I thought that we were getting ready to be run out of here. I felt that we were getting ready to be beat by forty,” Donlon said.
“I never call two time-outs in the first five minutes of a game. It wasn’t their motion (offense). It was transition basketball. They (Evansville) just blew it up the floor. They blew by us on one pass in the half court. That’s not motion. We didn’t guard our guard very well.”
It wasn’t until the 11:59 mark of the first half that WrightState sank their first field goal. That came on a Jerran Young put-back off of a missed Matt Vest shot attempt from beyond the arc to make the score 17-5.
Down 21-7, the Raiders went on a 9-0 run to pull within 21-16, but the Aces countered with an 8-0 run of their own, to push the margin back to 29-16 with 6:11 before halftime.
Yoho kept his team within sight of the Aces with a hot shooting hand by scoring eight points over the next six minutes. He had 16 points, in all, before halftime. Still, the Raiders trailed 39-28 at the intermission.
WrightState drew to within 41-36, but six unanswered points by the Aces put Evansville comfortably back on top 47-36 with 15:23 left to play. From there, the Aces maintained a double-digit lead for all but a few seconds over the remainder of the contest. Evansville stretched their lead to 70-52, before the Raiders scored the game’s final six points.
“You have to be so mentally tough when you play a motion team,” Donlon said. “And I just didn’t think that we were there tonight.”
WSU was led in scoring by Yoho (20), Young (11), and Kendall Griffin (10). Matt Vest contributed with six rebounds and five assists.
WrightState returns to Horizon League action on Tuesday evening at UIC.
Reggie Arceneaux (concussion) is hopeful for Tuesday.
It is still being determined if or when Cole Darling (foot) will be back.
Post Game Audio
Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar