Raiders torch UIC Flames 87-49

February 26, 2017

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders bounced back from a pair of losses earlier in the week with a dominating performance over a very young, but talented, UIC Flames squad by the lopsided score of 87-49 on Sunday afternoon at the Nutter Center.

“That team is so young. Sometimes they don’t have somebody to feed off of with so many freshmen,” Wright State head coach Scott Nagy said. “We caught them on a good night. We were good and they were down. So it ends up looking like that.”

UIC opened the contest with a Marcus Ottey jumper to go up 2-0 — a lead that lasted 59 seconds – for their only lead of the game.

Justin Mitchell began the scoring for the Raiders, with a jumper and layup to begin a stretch of twelve-straight Wright State points, to give his team an early 12-2 advantage.

UIC (14-17, 7-11 HL) narrowed the margin to 16-11 with 8:15 left in the half, but Raiders took the gas out of the Flames early.

Wright State (20-11, 11-7 HL) proceeded to put the game away, for all practical purposes, by going on a 21-4 run over the next seven minutes. Ryan Custer hit a trio of three-pointers during that span. His last two were back-to-back buckets that made it 37-15, before the Raiders headed into the halftime locker room with a commanding 41-19 lead.

Wright State opened the second half where they left off after the first twenty minutes. Grant Benzinger hit a three-pointer off of his own missed shot to make it 51-21 with 16:04 left. The Raiders stretched their advantage to 73-35 midway through the half, and 87-40 with 4:42 to play. UIC scored the game’s last nine points against WSU’s second-stringers to make the final score 87-49.

“We took way better care of the ball today,” Nagy said. “It’s really an indicator for our team about how ready and locked-in they are. And number two, our defense was really good.”

Steven Davis scored 21 points in the second half to finish with 27 for the game. Other Raiders to score in double figures were Mitchell (17), Mark Alstork (14), and Benzinger (12). Ryan Custer added nine points for a new personal career-high. Benzinger also grabbed a team-leading nine rebounds.

The Flames were held to 30-percent shooting from the field and hit a dismal 3-of-25 from beyond the arc.

The game concluded the regular season, and coach Nagy shared some thoughts about his team.

“We’ve got pretty tough kids that want to win, and are very competitive,” Nagy said. “It’s definitely an overachieving group, but that’s OK. They like that role anyway. They do believe, and that’s the most important thing”

Experience versus Youth

According to KenPom.com, in terms of experience, UIC is the second youngest of 351 Division I teams in the country (through February 24), with an average of 0.71 years of playing experience on the roster. The Flames do not have a scholarship senior in the program, and have started at least two freshmen in all 31 games this season.

Wright State is the second-oldest team in the Horizon League with an average of 2.02 years of experience (70th overall).

Series History

With the win, Wright State leads the all-time series versus UIC 29-27.

Post game audio

Coach:

Davis & Mitchell

Up Next

Up next is the Horizon League tournament to be played in Detroit from March 3 through March 7. The Raiders will be the #5 seed and open tournament play on Sunday March 5 at 7:30 pm.

What are coach Nagy’s thoughts heading into the tournament?

“The most important thing is that you believe you can go up there and win,” Nagy said. “My guess is not every team believes that, but I know that our team does. At least it gives you a fighting chance. If I felt I had a team that didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t even want to go up there.”

“We are a little bit up and down. We’re a very emotional group. If we’re going to do it, we’re going to need to go three nights in a row, which is a little bit of a disadvantage for us because we are not very deep. We’re going to have to figure out a way to do it, but our kids know that they can.”

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