Curse of Blackout Night uniforms continues against NKU

February 5, 2017

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – The curse of the Blackout Night uniforms continued on Saturday night at the Nutter Center for the Wright State Raiders against the Northern Kentucky Norse. Tonight was the annual Blackout Night promotion, in which black t-shirts were handed out to the first 5,000 fans in attendance and the Raiders wore black uniforms.

As history usually has it, the Raiders have played some of their worst games at home in the black uniforms, usually for inexplicable reasons, sometimes against some of the worst teams in the league, and usually in front of one of the largest crowds of the season. And tonight was no different.

Maybe the Raider Basketball Gods prefer the official school colors of green & gold over the color black, because on yet another Blackout Night, the Wright State Raiders lost, this time to NKU by the final score of 83-79 in front of the largest home crowd of the season. Attendance cracked the 4,000 barrier for the first time in twelve contests this year, with an announced attendance of 5,993.

The early going of this contest was a back-and-forth affair, as there were nine lead changes and five tied scores in the game’s first twelve minutes. However, the seven offensive rebounds grabbed by NKU before the first media time out was an indicator that trouble was brewing for the Raiders.

“In terms of energy, it shows up in rebounding and number of free throws taken,” Wright State head coach Scott Nagy said. “I couldn’t get the message through about how important this basketball game was, and it showed up that it was more important to Northern Kentucky. We had several opportunities to get loose balls in the second half, to dive on the floor, and we wouldn’t do it.”

Trailing 22-21 with 8:23 left in the half, a Mark Alstork dunk, followed by a Steven Davis tomahawk dunk off of a steal, and a pair of Altork free throws put the Raiders on top 27-22. It was a lead that they maintained over the next 15 minutes.

Wright State (15-9, 6-5 HL) had several opportunities to stretch the margin, but went into the halftime break with a slim 39-35 advantage.

“I thought that we lost the game in the first half,” Nagy said. “We should have been up 15. Had we played with the energy, payed attention to the scouts, we should have been and we weren’t. It was a concern of mine and it showed up in the second half.”

The Norse (15-9, 6-5 HL), reclaimed the lead 47-46 on a pair of Carson Williams free throws seven minutes into the second half.

With the score tied 50-all, Mark Alstork scored the next eleven WSU points, but the Raiders were unable to pull away and led just 61-60 with 8:02 to go. That’s when the momentum of the game shifted in favor of Northern Kentucky.

NKU’s Dantez Walker hit a layup and three-pointer, and Drew McDonald made a tip-in to put the Norse up 67-61. They stretched their lead to 70-63, before Wright State answered with six-straight points to narrow the margin to 70-69 with 3:23 to play.

Down 76-74 with just under a minute to play, it looked like the Raiders were on the verge of making a much-needed defensive stop. They forced the Norse away from the basket, and with the shot clock winding down to one second, Jordan Garnett tossed in a desperation circus-shot for a three-pointer with 28 seconds left to play, stretching the Norse lead to 79-74.

Four free throws in the closing seconds by NKU’s Drew McDonald sealed the game, as the Norse came away with an 83-79 win in front of the disappointed Raider faithful.

Northern Kentucky went to the charity stripe 27 times — hitting on 18 of them — while the Raiders were 11-of-15.

“It’s hard to win when a team shoots twelve more free throws than you,” Nagy said.

“They were more physical,” he added. “You would think that more physical would mean that they would foul more, but that’s not the way it works. When a team is more aggressive and more physical, they end up on the free throw line.”

Post game audio

Miscellaneous

Seventy seems to be the magic number for NKU. The Norse improved to 15-3 in games when they have scored at least 70 points. They are 0-6 when being held to less than 70.

Series History

With the loss on Blackout Night, Wright State’s all-time record against NKU falls to 21-8.

Up Next

The Raiders return home for two more games before hitting the road: Thurs. Feb. 9 vs. Milwaukee and Sat. Feb. 11 vs. Green Bay. Tip-off for both games is set for 7:00 pm.

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