Raiders rout YSU in regular season finaleMarch 2, 2013
By Mike Klingshirn
DAYTON, Ohio – A pair of 11-0 first half runs propelled the Wright State Raiders to a 39-19 halftime advantage, en route to a decisive 72-45 victory over the Youngstown State Penguins on Saturday afternoon at the Nutter Center in front of 3,682.
The victory avenged an earlier loss to the Penguins (16-14, 7-9 HL) that came at the end of a brutal three cities in five days road trip.
WSU’s first 11-0 run allowed the Raiders to take early command at 13-2, just four minutes into the game. Leading 25-17 with 4:17 left before halftime, in a contest that they never trailed, WrightState went on another 11-0 run to go up 36-17 at the 1:07 mark. A JT Yoho trey capped the first half scoring to send WSU into the locker room with a comfortable 39-19 lead.
The story of the first twenty minutes was Wright State’s quickness on defense. They made 12 first half steals, which led to 19 first half points.
“Our energy was great defensively, and that’s how we win,” Matt Vest said. “We kind of lost sight of that the last couple of games, but that’s been our identity all year as a team.”
Youngstown State never threatened after that. The Penguins cut the lead to under twenty points briefly at 47-28, but the Raiders stretched their advantage to as much as 29 on a couple of occasions (67-38 and 70-41), before winning by a final score of 72-45.
“This is something that we really needed,” Vest said. “It gets us feeling pretty good going into the tournament.”
The commanding lead allowed WSU head coach Billy Donlon to empty his bench as early as the 7:31 mark. Jacoby Roddy (6 points), Bobo Drummond (3), Daniel Collie (2), and Stephen Gossard saw significant playing time.
Jerran Young and Matt Vest led eleven Raiders who scored, with 14 and 11 points respectively. AJ Pacher contributed with nine points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes.
Wright State hit 30-of-54 attempts from the floor — 42 points in the paint — for a 55.6 shooting percentage. The Raiders out-rebounded the Penguins 32-23.
Saturday’s win earned Wright State (19-11, 10-6 HL) a first round bye in the Horizon League tournament. The Raiders will play on Friday night at 6:00 against the winner of the Loyola/Youngstown State first round game.
Coach Donlon believes that his team is capable of winning the tournament.
“We can win all the games,” he said. “If UConn can win five games in five days …our kids, with the depth in that locker room … there is no hesitation in my mind that we can win.”
Post Game Audio
Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar