Raiders take Youngstown State’s best shot but still win

January 16, 2018

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – With the euphoria that comes with defeating the top two Horizon League teams on the just recently completed road trip still fresh, the Wright State Raiders found themselves in a hard-fought battle against the Youngstown State Penguins on Monday afternoon at the Nutter Center. In the end, however, the Raiders controlled the final ten minutes of the game to pull out a 77-67 victory and maintain sole possession of first place in the league.

“At 6-0, we’re going to get everybody’s best shot,” said WSU head coach Scott Nagy. “We’re not deep enough where we’re just going to roll in, play poorly, and beat people. It takes maturity to show up every night and play well”

It was a tough contest that did not feel like a 10-point win.

“Sometime you win games and it doesn’t feel like you won,” Nagy said. “But that’s when you know you’ve got a pretty good team. If you’re winning games when you didn’t play very well, then you’re doing some things right.”

The Raiders led 9-6 when Jaylon Hall scored eleven points on a layup and three consecutive 3-pointers in about three-and-a-half minutes to stretch his team’s lead to 20-11 with 11:28 left in the half.

Youngstown State (5-14, 3-3 HL), however, fought all the way back to tie things at 25-all and 28-all, before taking a 38-35 advantage into the half time locker room.

The Penguins maintained that advantage at 52-47 with 13:09 left to play, but Wright State (14-5, 6-0 HL) regained the lead 54-52 on a pair of Jaylon Hall free throws. YSU’s Naz Bohannon quickly made a layup, nine seconds later, to knot the game at 54-54 with exactly ten minutes to go.

“We were not guarding hard enough,” Cole Gentry said. “They were killing us early. Even early in the second half, we were scoring at a good rate, but they were too.”

A Devin Haygood layup gave the Penguins a 56-54 advantage, but then with about nine minutes to play, Wright State got about five or six defensive stops in a row, scored some points and built a lead with a game-deciding 16-4 run to take command 70-60 with 2:30 left.

From there, the Penguins sent Wright State to the free throw line ten times, where they hit seven charity tosses to preserve the 77-67 victory.

Mark Hughes, a tremendous ball defender, held YSU’s Cameron Morse — perhaps the best player in the league — to just two points on 1-of-12 shooting for the game. Hughes forced Morse to take some tough pull ups and kept him off of the three-point line (0-of-5).

Five Raiders scored in double figures: Hall (16), Loudon Love (16), Gentry (14), Hughes (13), and Grant Benzinger(13).

Gentry connected on 4-of-5 attempts from behind the arc, while dishing out six assists and committing no turnovers.

Benzinger and Love led Wright State by grabbing eight and seven boards respectively.

Series History

With the victory, Wright State improves their all-time series record against the Penguins to 44-12.

Up Next

After a trip to the state of Wisconsin for a pair of contests against league foes Green Bay and Milwaukee, the Raiders return home in pursuit of the regular season sweep against both Detroit Mercy and Oakland. Tip off for the Detroit Mercy game is set for Friday January 26 at 7 pm, followed by a matchup against the Oakland Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon January 28 at 2 pm.

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