Incredible comeback lifts Raiders over Belmont 73-70

November 15, 2014

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – It may have been just the first contest of a 30-plus game season, but the Wright State Raiders topped the Belmont Bruins on Friday night, in what may turn out to be one of the most exciting games of the year. After trailing 70-66 with 2:41 left to play, the Raiders scored the game’s final seven points to pull out a 73-70 “instant classic” in front of the home fans.

Afterwards, Wright State’s Reggie Arceneaux described the last two minutes as intense and tough. “It was two great teams going at it in a great atmosphere,” he said. “We found a way to get it done.”

Belmont, a traditional mid-major power, entered the contest having come off of a season in which they went 26-10, including a win against North Carolina on the Tar Heels home floor. The Bruins also put on a nice performance in the postseason NIT, advancing to the quarterfinals before falling to Clemson.

The Bruins held the upper hand early by jumping out to leads of 6-0 and 15-7. The Raiders fought their way back to claim their first lead of the night 23-21 after a Reggie Arceneaux pass found Michael Karena under the basket for two points.

The Raiders stretched the lead to 30-25 with 4:20 left in the half. It was Wright State’s largest advantage all night. The lead changed hands three more times until the halftime scoreboard read 40-37 in favor of Belmont.

Both teams battled to a 55-55 tie midway through the second half. The score was knotted at 59 all until a pair of Evan Bradds free throws put the Bruins on top 70-66 with 2:41 to play.

A nice cross-over dribble drive by Chrishawn Hopkins made it 70-68 with 2:09 to go. After a stop on the defensive end of the court, Reggie Arceneaux was fouled on a drive to the hoop. He converted both free throws at the 1:10 mark to even things at 70-70.

On Belmont’s next possession, Grant Benzinger stole an errant Belmont pass in the middle of the lane, and Arceneaux was fouled from behind. Reggie made the first of two free throws to put WSU up 71-70 with 29.5 seconds to play.

With the Bruins looking to retake the lead and possibly the victory, Belmont’s Evan Bradds received the ball and began to back down Benzinger under the basket. Benzinger hit the floor, a whistle had blown, and Bradds was called for a charging foul with 10.3 seconds remaining.

“I was just playing tough,” Benzinger said. “It just so happened that he put his shoulder down and I took it.”

WSU pushed the ball down court on the ensuing play and Arceneaux found Steven Davis under the basket. Davis went up for the lay-in, but Belmont’s Bradds was whistled for an intentional foul with 3.9 showing on the clock. Alone at the line, Stevens missed both free throw attempts.

Because of the flagrant foul, the Raiders still had possession under their own basket. Benzinger hit Hopkins under the hoop on the inbounds pass for a layup, capping an exciting 73-70 Wright State win.

“I’ve been a part of a lot of games,” Wright State head coach Billy Donlon said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been more proud of a team in a single game, than what just took place out on that floor. And I would have said that regardless of the final score. What those guys did to find a way to win was incredible.”

“You will never see a better effort on a basketball floor. And Belmont gave an incredible effort too. There were scrums everywhere, but it was the right way. The sportsmanship … there was never anything nasty. It was just two teams playing hard.”

Hopkins led the Raiders with 21 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. Arceneaux (15) and Karena (11) also scored in double figures. Joe Thomasson pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.

Kendall Griffin scored seven points in 13 minutes before leaving the game in the first half with a concussion.

“What Kendall Griffin did in the first half gave us the opportunity to win the game,” Donlon said. His drives, his physicality, his layups at the rim, and his defense gave us a chance to win. He was as good as anybody on the floor in the first half.”

Reece Chamberlain recorded a double-double for Belmont with 18 points and 12 boards. Evan Bradds, from nearby Greenview High School, scored 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field. Bradds also had seven rebounds.

Up Next

The Raiders host the Division II Ohio Dominican Panthers on Sunday November 16. The Panthers finished last season with a record of 5-21. Tip-off is slated for 5:00 pm.

Box Score

Men’s Basketball Stats

 

Post-game Audio

Benzinger, Hopkins and Arceneaux

Coach Donlin

 

 Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar

Raiders top Findlay in exhibition play

November 6, 2014

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – Wright State University head coach Billy Donlon got everything that a coach could want from an exhibition game, against the University of Findlay, on Wednesday night. Nearly every player who dressed played double-figure minutes. His team had a chance to handle adversity, and they eventually came away with a 68-59 victory over the Oilers at the Nutter Center.

Findlay scored the game’s first six points before the Raiders tied it at 8 all. The lead changed hands seven times until a Steven Davis jumper made it 20-20 midway through the first half. The Oilers controlled the next five minutes with a 16-4 run to go up 36-24, and eventually into the halftime locker room with a 40-32 lead.

Findlay stretched their advantage to 48-37 with 16:26 left to play. It was at that point when Wright State turned up their defensive intensity and scored the next 20-straight points, en route to a 27-3 run to go up 64-51 with 4:04 to play. Chrishawn Hopkins was phenomenal during a 90-second stretch, in which he scored six-straight points on two free throws and two layups, putting the Raiders up 52-48 at the 11:41 mark, after trailing 48-46.

Four Raiders scored in double figures: Steven Davis (14), Kendall Griffin (13), Chrishawn Hopkins (12), and Joe Thomasson (11). Davis and Griffin also led their team with six rebounds apiece.

Up Next

The Raiders open their regular season at home on Friday November 14 against the Belmont Bruins. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Box Score

Men’s Basketball Stats

 

Post-game Audio

Coach Donlon

Thomasson and Arceneaux

 

 Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar

Men Hold Off Valparaiso on Senior Night

February 26, 2014

by WSU Athletic Communications

The Wright State men’s basketball team built a nine-point halftime lead, but had to hold off Valparaiso in the second half before defeating the Crusaders 67-58 on Senior Night Tuesday night at WSU’s Nutter Center.

Six straight points, four of those coming from JT Yoho, gave the Raiders a 14-8 advantage eight minutes into the contest and the lead grew to 30-18 on four consecutive Cole Darling points, the final two coming on foul shots at the 2:54 mark.

WSU led 32-23 at the break despite the Crusaders shooting 47 percent from the field compared to 41 percent for the Raiders. Valpo, however, attempted just 19 shots while Wright State had 27 attempts thanks in part to forcing 11 turnovers while committing only seven.

The margin was double figures at 49-39 on two AJ Pacher foul shots with 11:19 to play, only to see the Crusaders close to within four at 55-51 on an Alec Peters tip-in at the 4:07 mark.

A jumper and two foul shots by Pacher, though, push the lead back up to eight and the senior forward connected on a three from the top of the key made it 62-53 with 2:27 remaining.

Valparaiso cut the deficit to 63-58 on a three-point play from Moussa Gueye at the 18.9-second mark, but could get no closer as WSU scored the final four points of the contest on two Yoho free throws and a Miles Dixon dunk.

Both teams shot the ball well in the second half as Wright State hit 13 of 26 shots to finish at 45 percent while the Crusaders shot 46 percent the final 20 minutes to end up at 47 percent. WSU hit 15 of 18 free throws compared to 10 of 12 for Valpo.

Pacher led all scorers with 20 for the Raiders, 13 in the second half, while Darling scored all 12 of his points in the first half. Yoho added 10 off the bench.

Peters paced Valparaiso (17-13, 9-6 Horizon) with 11 points while Vashil Fernandez had 10.

Next up
Wright State (17-13, 9-6 Horizon) closes out the regular season on Saturday, March 1, at UIC at 2:00 Eastern. The Raiders will either be the #3 or #4 seed in next week’s Horizon League Tournament.



Box Score

Men’s Basketball Stats

 

Post-game Audio

Pacher

Young

Dixon

Darling

Vest

 

 Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar



Raiders top Detroit on free t-shirt night 65-61

February 22, 2014

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders kept their hopes alive for a first round bye in the Horizon League tournament, by defeating the Detroit Titans 65-61 in a late-night battle that was a rarity of sorts. In order to accommodate an ESPNU national television audience, Friday evening’s game began with an unusual tip-off time of 10:00 pm. It may be the first time in school history that a Wright State men’s basketball game started on one day but didn’t end until the next (Saturday morning at 12:15 am).

Also, rare, is the fact that the Raiders came away victorious at home in a ballgame that was promoted by a free t-shirt giveaway. Coming into the game, Wright State was 0-2 at the Nutter Center this year in contests in which t-shirts were given away. They were undefeated in their other eleven home games.

The losing streak on t-shirt nights goes back several years. The black-out nights, for example, have become so notorious for unexplainable poor performances by the Raiders that no black t-shirts were given away this year. The black uniforms worn by the team on those nights have been in storage ever since last season’s upset at home to the UIC Flames.

Wright State head coach Billy Donlon, known to be superstitious at times, was fully aware of past history.

“Oh, I thought about it,” Donlon said. “It all started when we lost to Illinois State in a home opener. I was the assistant to coach (Brownell). We had a great crowd and we lost. We had a player just throw the ball to the other team four straight times. He was a great player, but it was like nothing I had ever seen. It was like watching Poltergeist from the early eighties.”

As was the case on most other t-shirt giveaway nights, things did not start well for Wright State (16-13, 8-6 HL).

The Raiders opened the game by going nearly nine minutes without hitting a field goal. Although their first six points came from the free throw line, it wasn’t until the 11:15 mark when Reggie Arceneaux connected on a wide open attempt from the left side, beyond the arc, to pull the Raiders to within 12-9 of the Titans.

Detroit (13-16, 6-8 HL) stretched the margin to 25-16, their largest of the game, before AJ Pacher scored the last basket of the half — a 3-pointer — to make it 30-29, still in favor of the Titans.

Chrishawn Hopkins tied the score for the first time since the opening tip, at 35 all, by hitting a trey in front of his team’s bench.

A basket by Carlton Brundidge gave Detroit their final lead of the night at 37-35.

It was then when Raider fans had an opportunity to witness one of the best individual 1-minute performances in Raider history. With the help of a Hopkins steal and assist, Matt Vest scored on a dunk to tie it again. Vest followed that up by hitting a pair of treys, lighting up the scoreboard for eight points over a 73 second span. Matt’s first 3-pointer gave his team their first lead of the game at 40-37. His second 3-pointer made it 43-37 with 14:03 left to play. He followed that with a tenth straight-point by hitting a jumper.

“Matt Vest, on both sides of the ball, for about eight minutes, was the best player in the league,” Donlon said. “He’ll be showing this video to his grandkids.”

Over the next ten minutes, when Wright State needed a bucket, they went inside to 6-foot-10 AJ Pacher. He delivered either from the field or the charity stripe by scoring eight of his team’s next 14 points, helping his team build a 59-51 lead with 3:40 left.

It was then that WSU seemingly went into a “prevent offense”. In an effort to shorten the game by reducing possessions, they began taking as much time as possible off of the shot clock before looking to shoot.

As a result of that style of play, the Raiders went scoreless over the next three minutes. It resulted in turnovers, bad looks at the basket, offensive fouls, and a shot clock violation. It also enabled Detroit to creep within 59-55 with less than a minute to play.

“We’ve got to get a little smarter, late, against the clock,” Donlon said. “I’ve got to do a better job, coaching our guys a little bit late.”

A Hopkins dunk broke the scoring drought to seal game, and Wright State held on to win 65-61.

Vest finished the contest with 16 points … a season high for him.

AJ Pacher led the Raiders with 19 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Tavares Sledge, who filled in for an injured Jerran Young, tied his career-high by pulling down 9 boards in 21 minutes of action. Reggie Arceneaux added 15 points.

Evan Bruinsma led the Detroit with a double-double by scoring 19 points and collecting 12 rebounds — 7 on the offensive end.

Detroit out-rebounded the Raiders 41-26 in the game, which resulted in an advantage of second chance points by 24-5.

After the game coach Donlon dodged the question when asked if he would have consider a ban on future t-shirt giveaways at the Nutter Center, had his team not come back to pull out the victory. “That’s way above my pay grade,” he answered.

Injury Update

Jerran Young is questionable for Tuesday’s game against Valpo. More will be known about his status over the weekend. Kendall Griffin will not play.

Next up

The Raiders return home on Tuesday February 25 for a rematch against Valparaiso on Senior Night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm. Wright State won in the first meeting between the two teams at Valpo 62-45.



Box Score

Men’s Basketball Stats

 

Post-game Audio

Coach Donlon

Pacher and Vest

 

 Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar



Raiders suffer difficult loss to Cleveland State

February 9, 2014

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders dropped an emotional and hard fought decision to the Cleveland State Vikings on Saturday afternoon by the final score of 72-68. The loss dealt a serious blow to any aspiration that the Raiders may have had of earning the number two seed in next month’s Horizon League tournament. With the defeat, they find themselves three games back in the loss column to the second place Vikings with just four games remaining on the regular season schedule.

“Those guys (Cleveland State) came in with a direct purpose,” said WSU head coach Billy Donlon. “They achieved their purpose.”

The contest began slowly for the Raiders (14-13, 6-6 HL), who missed a lot of good shot attempts in the game’s first six minutes to fall behind 16-3. But a pair of Cole Darling free throws, a pair of Matt Vest treys, and another trey by AJ Pacher, quickly drew Wright State to within 18-14 with 11:30 left in the half.

Cleveland State (17-9, 8-3 HL) slowly stretched their lead to 29-20.

Wright State then turned up their defensive intensity to pitch a shutout over the remaining five minutes of the half. The Raiders drew to within 29-28 on 3-pointers from JT Yoho and AJ Pacher, followed by a Yoho layup.

With 1:02 remaining until halftime, the Raiders had the chance to take their first lead of the afternoon with Reggie Arceneaux at the free throw line. His front end of a one-and-one bounced around the rim before falling out. The failed attempt snapped a perfect season from the line for Reggie, who was 25-of-25 prior to the miss.

Arceneaux redeemed himself on the next Raider possession, however, by nailing a shot from beyond the arc to send his team into the halftime locker room with their only lead of the half at 31-29.

The Raiders were firing away with the long ball in the first twenty minutes. They hit 10-of-22 shot attempts from the field for the half, which included 6-of-14 from beyond the arc.

Unlike the first half, which saw just one lead change, the second half saw 13 lead changes, eight tied scores, and a pair of double digit runs from each team.

After a Cole Darling 3-pointer put the Raiders on top 38-37, Cleveland State rattled off ten unanswered points to go up 47-38 midway through the second stanza.

Like a yo-yo, Wright State responded with the game’s next eleven points, capped by a fast break in which Chrishawn Hopkins lobbed the ball to a high flying Jerran Young, who finished with a thunderous slam dunk. It put the Raiders up 49-47 and sent the crowd into a loud wild frenzy.

Sensing the game’s momentum shifting, Vikings’ head coach Gary Waters called timeout to settle his team down. It worked. CSU’s Charlie Lee, who finished with a game high 25 points, hit a jumper and a 3-pointer on his team’s next two possessions to put Cleveland State back on top 52-49 with 6:51 left to play.

Wright State answered with a mini-run to retake the lead 58-54 — their largest of the game — after JT Yoho completed a traditional three point play on a jumper and free throw with 5:18 remaining.

From that point on, the lead changed hands seven times, and CSU’s Charlie Lee was nearly unstoppable. He stepped up big by scoring 12 out of his team’s next 14 points.

“Charlie Lee was magnificent,” Donlon said. “The hardest guy to guard on a basketball floor when he (Lee) is the best player is the point guard, because they are going to get the ball in his hands.”

After Miles Dixon hit one of two free throws to extend WSU’s advantage to 67-65 with 28 seconds left, Charlie Lee was fouled by Jerran Young on a 3-point attempt with 16 seconds to play. Lee calmly swished all three attempts to put the Vikings back on top 68-67.

“It was a very smart play for Charlie to shoot the ball then, because you’re down two and you’re going to try to take the first look that you can,” Donlon said. “If you miss, you want to have more time to prolong the game. If you wait until the clock goes down and you do miss and we get the rebound, you can’t prolong the game.”

With what appeared to be Wright State’s final chance to win the contest, Chrishawn Hopkins attacked the lane and dished to Yoho. With seven seconds showing on the clock, Yoho missed a contested fade away jumper from ten feet away. CSU grabbed the rebound and hit four more free throws down the stretch to seal the victory by a final score of 72-68.

The Vikings out-rebounded Wright State 17-6 in the second half, for an advantage of 31-22 in the game.

Cleveland State’s Anton Grady, who did not play in WSU’s 49-46 victory over the Vikings three weeks ago, recorded a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Four Raiders scored in double figures: Young (15), Yoho (14), Darling (12), and Dixon (10).

Next up

The Raiders return home on Friday February 21 for a battle against the Detroit Titans. Tip-off is scheduled for 10:00 pm to accommodate an ESPNU broadcast.



Box Score

Men’s Basketball Stats

 

Post-game Audio

Coach Donlon

Darling and Dixon

 

 Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar



Men Pull Away for 77-67 Win Over Youngstown State

February 6, 2014

By WSU Athletic Communications

Down most of the first half, the Wright State men’s basketball team combined for a 24-8 run to end that period and start the second half en route to a 77-67 Horizon League win over Youngstown State Wednesday night at WSU’s Nutter Center.

Back-to-back three from Ryan Weber gave the Penguins an early 8-2 advantage and YSU maintained the lead until a Jerran Young layup and two Cole Darling free throws gave the Raiders a 17-16 edge with 10:35 remaining in the first half.

Youngstown State, though, regained the lead with a Kendrick Perry three and eventually went up 27-20 on two Weber foul shots with 7:43 left.

The margin was still six at 29-23 following a Perry jumper at the 5:58 mark, but the rest of the half would be controlled by Wright State as the Raiders started their decisive run with six straight points, the final four coming on a layup and two free throws by JT Yoho.

After YSU’s Bobby Hain broke the string with a layup, a Young free throw, a Chrishawn Hopkins triple and a Darling basket gave the Raiders the lead for good at 35-31 heading into halftime.

Both teams shot the ball well in the opening 20 minutes as WSU was at 44 percent compared to 42 percent for the Penguins, but the Raiders also hit four of nine threes and were 11 of 14 at the foul line while Youngstown State was three of 11 from behind the arc and a perfect six for six at the stripe.

Following baskets from Yoho to start the second half, scores from Darling and AJ Pacher along two Darling foul shots extended the Raider lead to 47-37 with 16:04 to play. Two more free throws from Darling and Reggie Arceneaux made it 54-40 and YSU would get no closer than eight the rest of the way.

Wright State hit 12 of 20 shots after halftime and was 16 of 21 at the line during that stretch to end up at 27 of 35 for the game. Youngstown State, meanwhile, shot 46 percent for the game and was 17 of 18 at the line. The Raiders also led 25-13 in points off of turnovers despite just a 14-12 differential in turnovers for the game.

Darling led WSU with 20 points, including 10 of 12 free throws, while Hopkins had 11, Young 10 and Pacher 10. The four combined combined to give the Raiders 51 points off the bench compared to just seven for the Penguins. Yoho also reached double figures as he finished with 11.

Weber paced Youngstown State (13-11, 4-5 Horizon) with 21 points while Perry had 16 and Hain 12 along with nine rebounds.

Next up

Wright State (14-12, 6-5 Horizon) hosts Cleveland State on Saturday at 1:00, a game that will be televised on ESPN2.



Box Score

Men’s Basketball Stats

 

Post-game Audio

Coach Donlon

Darling and Hopkins

 

 Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar



Men Cruise Past Milwaukee 73-57

January 22, 2014

By WSU Athletic Communications

The Wright State men’s basketball team jumped out to a 10-1 lead and never looked back in cruising to a 73-57 Horizon League win over Milwaukee Tuesday night at WSU’s Nutter Center.

After the Raiders got out to the quick 10-1 advantage just 3:25 into the contest, the Panthers closed to within five at 16-11 on a Kyle Kelm three-point play at the 8:14 mark of the first half. WSU, however, followed with a 12-3 burst, capped off by threes from Reggie Arceneaux and AJ Pacher, and closed out the period with a 39-21 lead on a three from JT Yoho.

Wright State shot 46 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, including four of eight three-pointers, and was perfect in nine free throw attempts while Milwaukee hit just six of 24 shots and was seven of 14 at the line.

UWM cut the deficit to 43-34 on a Matt Tiby layup with 14:44 remaining, but the Panthers would get no closer as the Raiders answered with seven straight points and maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the way.

WSU shot 45 percent for the game compared to 42 percent for Milwaukee, who shot 58 percent in the second half. The Raiders were 22 of 25 at the line while the Panthers were 14 of 24. Wright State also led 16-6 in points off of turnovers.

Jerran Young led the Raiders with 19 points off the bench on seven-of-10 shooting while Pacher had 12 and Cole Darling added 11 points and eight rebounds.

Kelm paced Milwaukee (13-8, 3-4 Horizon) with 16 points while Jordan Aaron had 15.

Wright State (13-9, 5-2 Horizon) now hits the road for three straight, starting on Saturday, January 25, with a 7:00 contest at Youngstown State.



Box Score

Men’s Basketball Stats

 

Post-game Audio

Coach Donlon

Darling and Pacher

 

 Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar



Green Bay grabs control of Horizon League with victory over Raiders

January 18, 2014

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – The Green Bay Phoenix took early control of this season’s Horizon League standings with a 79-69 victory over the Wright State Raiders, in a much-anticipated battle that featured the two teams picked by many to win the Horizon League championship.

“You can’t win championships in January,” Green Bay head coach Brian Wardle said after the game. “But you sure can lose them.”

With the victory, Green Bay (14-3, 4-0 Horizon League) captured their ninth-straight victory, and the third of their current four-game Horizon League road trip. Wright State (11-9, 3-2 HL) remained in second place with the loss.

“This was a really important game,” said Alec Brown, Green Bay’s 7-foot-1 NBA prospect. “We knew that if we could come in here and steal this game, it would be huge for us. We played our hearts out.”

Brown hadn’t practiced all week due to an ankle sprain, and his playing status for the game was questionable. But with three NBA scouts in the arena watching, Brown showed his durability and tolerance for pain with an outstanding performance. He finished the contest with 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, including 1-of-2 from behind the arc.

Wright State took its first and only lead of the game midway through the first half on a Jerran Young slam dunk to go up 21-19. The Phoenix answered the Raider threat — as was the case all night long — by responding with a bucket which ignited an 11-2 run, making it 30-23.

Wright State finished the final two minutes of the first half strong by scoring the half’s final seven points — five by Cole Darling and two by Miles Dixon — to go into the halftime locker room down 39-36. The Raiders must have felt extremely fortunate to trail by only three points because Green Bay had shot 61.5-percent from the floor and out-rebounded the Raiders 20-9 up to that point.

An AJ Pacher free throw coming out of the half, pulled Wright State to within 39-37, but Green Bay answered with a 9-0 run to take control again at 48-37.

After trading a few baskets, the Raiders roared back with a 9-0 run of their own, capped by a Pacher 3-pointer, to close within 55-54 with 10:16 left to play.

However, as was the case all night long, the Green Bay answered the challenge, holding onto their lead, and building it back up to 61-56, 71-63, and finally 79-69.

Wright State head coach Billy Donlon was surprised that the Phoenix were able to exert their will over his team. “The way that we lost tonight is extremely humbling because I value toughness,” Donlon said. “They get an A+ and we get an F.”

Wright State hit 27-of-55 shot attempts for the game for 49-percent. Green Bay shot 60-percent (28-of-47).

“We wanted them to make 3-point shots to beat us, but they only took four,” Donlon said. “So never mind shooting and missing … they only took four.”

Alec Brown led the Phoenix with 24 points. Keifer Sykes, Green Bay’s outstanding guard added 18, while Greg Mays and Jordan Fouse chipped in with 14 and 10 respectively.

Five Raiders scored in double figures: Reggie Arceneaux (17), Jerran Young (13), Cole Darling (13), Miles Dixon (12), and AJ Pacher (10).

With the victory over Wright State, Green Bay leads the all-time series 25-24. The Raiders lead 18-9 in games played in Dayton.

Next Up

With a schedule that only the Horizon League can concoct, the Raiders return home on Tuesday night (Jan. 21 tip-off at 7:00) for their third contest in less than 100 hours to battle the Milwaukee Panthers. But before that, Wright State will travel to northeast Ohio for a Sunday afternoon matchup against the Cleveland State Vikings (Sun. Jan. 19 tip-off at 1:00).



Box Score

Men’s Basketball Stats

 

Post-game Audio

Coach Donlon

Arceneaux and Darling

UWGBs Wardle and Brown

 

 Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar



Raiders defeats Oakland 76-64 in first Horizon League game of the 2013-14 season

January 3, 2014

By Mike Reynolds

Well, the weather outside was frightful but the hoops action inside was intense in this opening league game for both teams AND the first Horizon League game for Oakland.

The Raiders extended their winning streak to 4 with a 76-64 win over the Golden Grizzles. The Raiders stand at 9-7 (1-0 HL) while OU drops to 5-11 (0-1 HL). WSU now holds a 5-2 series record against Oakland going back to 1975.

11/29/75 W, 103-79 H
1/17/79 L, 54-55 (OT) A
12/1/79 W, 84-58 H
12/27/00 L, 77-87 N
12/11/01 W, 74-54 H
11/23/10 W, 82-79 H
1/2/2014 W, 76-64

The Raider bench scored the bulk of points (48) in this contest as Miles Dixon and Chrishawn Hopkins each had 13 while Cole Darling added 10 in 26 minutes of action. These three were the only Raiders in double figures scoring.

Jerran Young had a strong night with 8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks and 4 steals in 29 minutes.

OU’s Petros, Bader and Felder broke into double figure points (16, 15 and 10 respectively). Petros grabbed 8 rebounds but WSU still won the battle of the boards 35-25.

Both teams struggled to score in the first half – WSU shot 38% and OU 37%. The Raiders held a two point lead at the half 30-28.

In the second half the Raiders shooting heated up significantly to 65%. The Raiders pulled away from the Golden Grizzles and outscored OU by 10 (46-36) in the second 20 minutes. The biggest lead for WSU was 14. The lead changed 11 times and the there were 8 ties.

The Raiders spent a lot of time on the free throw line and made the most of it shooting a blistering 81% (26-32).

Notables

Pacher fouled out with 7 points with 3:03 left in the game.

As the game was nearing the end, OU’s Petros sets a hard (moving?) screen and laid Kendall Griffin out for a few minutes on the Nutter Center court. Kendall got up and was apprently quite upset at the perceived cheap shot by Petros and wound up being assessed a technical foul for the reaction.

Other Horizon League action Thursday night

Cleveland State 55 — Green Bay 66
Youngstown State 76 — Milwaukee 82
UIC 72 — Valparaiso 87

Next Up

Raiders make a short trip north Saturday to take on the Titans of Detroit at 2pm



Box score: Box score

Men’s Basketball Stats

 

Post-game Audio

Darling Dixon

Coach Donlon

 

 Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar



Wright State defense leads the way over BGSU 46-43

December 29, 2013

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders finished the non-conference portion of their 2013-14 season on an upbeat note, taking advantage of their best defensive effort of the season to defeat the Bowling Green Falcons 46-43 Sunday afternoon at the Nutter Center. AJ Pacher led the Raiders with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Miles Dixon added 13 points.

“Our defense is our hard hat,” said Billy Donlon. “It is what we stand for. That’s never going to change.”

Both teams battled to a 14-14 tie after a little more than twelve minutes of play. During that stretch, there were two lead changes and five tied scores, while neither team was able to build more than a four point lead.

Wright State (8-7) broke the game open slightly by closing out the final 7:21 of the half with a 12-5 run to go up 26-19 at the intermission.

Neither team shot particularly well in the first half. Wright State hit 11-of-29 for 38-percent, while Bowling Green (6-6) connected on 8-of-22 attempts.

The highlight of the first twenty minutes was Tavares Sledge’s return to the team and his first appearance of the season for the Raiders. He entered the game shortly after the first media timeout to the warm, loud, and welcoming applause from the Raider faithful. He proceeded to delight the hometown fans on his team’s next possession. He answered with a thunderous slam dunk, thanks to a perfect feed from teammate Kendall Griffin, on a play drawn up specifically for him.

“I’m grateful that that was the reception he (Sledge) got,” Donlon said. “And I’m glad that he dunked the first ball that he got. He played really well for a guy that’s done absolutely nothing for a very long time.”

“He came out and played hard,” Pacher said. “He got the game ball at the end of the game and he really deserved it.”

Both teams continued to grind it out over the next eight minutes, with Wright State eventually building a 35-24 advantage at the 11:54 mark. Moments later, an AJ Pacher jumper and free throw stretched WSU’s lead to 38-24– their largest of the game — but the Falcons still had some fight remaining in their tank.

The Falcons, traditionally a physical team, applied some stiff defense to outscore the Raiders 19-7 over the next ten minutes, pulling them to within 45-43 with 1:46 left to play.

A Chrishawn Hopkins drive to the hoop was rejected by a BGSU defender with 39 seconds remaining. The Falcons grabbed the loose ball and called timeout. This was their opportunity to either tie the score or give them their first lead since early in the contest at 11-10.

Wright State countered by positioning their two big men (6’10”Pacher and 6’9” Sledge) side-by-side under the basket, but it was their guard, Matt Vest, who picked a Falcon clean as he was driving quickly to the hoop with the shot clock winding down.

Miles Dixon was fouled immediately with nine seconds remaining. He hit the front end of the one-and-bonus to put the Raiders up 46-43. Dixon missed the second shot, but WSU’s defense forced Bowling Green’s Holmes — not normally a three-point shooter — to launch one that missed. His shot deflected off the side of the rim and Wright State survived some nervous moments to hold on for their third straight victory.

WSU shot 37-percent (18-of-49) from the floor for the game, despite going 0-of-13 from beyond the arc. BGSU went 17-of-39 from the floor and just 2-of-10 from 3-point land.

Wright State’s depth was also a major factor in the game’s outcome. The WSU bench outscored Bowling Green’s 19-1, while logging more than twice as many minutes of action (72-29).

THE NON-CONFERENCE SEASON IN REVIEW:

The conclusion of today’s Bowling Green game marked the end of Wright State’s non-conference season in which the team finished with a record of 8-7. Here is a look at some of the hi-lights and low-lights of the first half of this season:

HI-LIGHTS:

AJ Pacher: Hampered by a foot injury in 2012-13, AJ has recovered from off-season surgery to become the team’s leading scorer and rebounder with 10.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He is shooting 71-percent from the floor (57-of-80), which includes 7-of-14 from beyond the arc.

Matt Vest: Another player hampered by injuries in 2012-13, Matt has recovered to become one of the steadiest players on the team, and possibly the MVP thus far into the season. The floor leader on offense is shooting 57-percent from the floor and is third in assists with 26, behind Kendall Griffin (30) and Reggie Arceneaux (27).

Undefeated at Home: The Raiders may have gone winless on the road, but they defended their home court by knocking off all seven non-conference opponents who entered the Nutter Center (Mt. St. Joseph, Manchester, Alcorn St., Western Carolina, Eastern Illinois, UMKC, Bowling Green).

LOW-LIGHTS:

North Carolina A&T 62 WSU 59: This was a game that no WSU fan expected the Raiders to lose when the schedule was announced last summer. Although this contest was played in Greensboro, away from the Nutter Center, it was considered by many to be one of several easy wins on a weak non-conference schedule. NC A&T (3-10), whose only other win over Division I competition was against Longwood, overcame a 5-point halftime deficit and to pull out the surprising upset victory over WSU.

Miami 59 WSU 56: Miami limped into this contest with a 1-5 record, which included a loss at home to the Division III Wilmington Quakers. This was a sloppily played back-and-forth affair until free throws decided the outcome in the game’s closing seconds. The loss left the Raiders with a 5-7 record (3-7 against Division I competition) and had many wondering what had happened to the team that was a preseason favorite to win the Horizon League.

Home Attendance: Through the first six home games, the largest announced crowd was a mere 3,486 for the 83-33 triumph over Division III Manchester Spartans team. The 3,864 at today’s Game against Bowling Green bumped this season’s average attendance to 3,295 … nearly 500 below last season’s average per game (3,786).

DONLON’S THOUGHTS:

“Our guys are normally in every game, with the exception of a couple every year. Just like tonight … we didn’t suddenly become a much better team because we won a one-possession game. About those five of seven games that were one-possession losses … we didn’t all of a sudden become the worst team in college basketball. You have to stay even keel. You have to be about daily development.”

Next Up

The Raiders open Horizon League play with a battle against the league’s newest member, Oakland, on Thursday, January 2 at the Nutter Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm.



Box score: BGSU Box

Men’s Basketball Stats

 

Post-game Audio

Dixon and Pacher

Coach Donlon

 

 Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar