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



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



Miami extends Wright State’s losing streak to four straight

December 16, 2013

By Mike Klingshirn

OXFORD, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders dropped their fourth straight game — all on the road — in a hard-fought battle on Sunday afternoon to the Miami RedHawks at Millett Hall. The final score was 59-56, in a contest that was a back-and-forth affair until free throws decided the outcome in the game’s closing seconds.

The contest saw a combined 41 turnovers committed in a sloppy error-plagued game, by two teams who were desperate for a victory. The Raiders (5-7) turned it over 20 times, while the RedHawks (2-5) pulled out the victory, even though they had committed 21 turnovers and made just five assists on the afternoon.

“Our record is not where it should be,” said WSU head coach Billy Donlon. “We have a good basketball team, and we’ll see where we are when it matters in March.”

Chrishawn Hopkins, the transfer from Butler, who played for Butler’s Final Four team in 2010-11, made his first much anticipated appearance in a Wright State uniform, coming out of the 15:56 media timeout. It didn’t take long for him to make an impact, as he stole a Miami pass and drove the length of the floor to score less than 37 seconds later to give the Raiders their first lead at 8-6. JT Yoho connected on a three-pointer on his team’s next possession, extending WSU’s lead to 11-6 … their largest lead of the entire game.

Hopkins showed signs of rust early, from not having played in nearly a-year-and-a-half. He committed four turnovers without an assist in 13 minutes of first half action. He was solid in the second half however, committing no turnovers while handing out three assists, and finishing the game with four points on 2-of-4 shooting in 24 minutes of action.

The RedHawks eventually fought their way back to tie the score at 17, midway through the half. A Reggie Johnson steal of a Hopkins pass resulted in a basket and free throw, after being fouled by WSU’s AJ Pacher on his drive to the hoop. The play snapped a 19-19 tie, putting the RedHawks on top 22-19 at the seven minute mark.

A pair of free throws by Miami’s Geovonie McKnight ended the first half to send the RedHawks into the locker room with a 34-29 lead.

The second half began with a Jerran Young steal of a Miami pass and thunderous dunk at the other end of the court. The Raiders crept to within 34-33 on another steal, this time by Matt Vest at the 16:34 mark.

WSU’s starting five did not allow Miami to score through the first media timeout of the second half. Coach Donlon substituted some players, and in hindsight, he wished that he hadn’t.

“I’m a defensive guy,” Donlon said. “I knew that they (Miami) hadn’t scored. I should have just let those five guys play until they scored to see what happens.”

The Raiders took a brief 39-38 lead with 12:05 left to play, before Miami scored five straight points to regain the lead one minute later at 43-39.

An AJ Pacher jumper tied to score 51-51 with 3:33 left to play. Five lead changes followed until Miami’s Will Felder hit a pair of free throws to put his team up 57-55 with 33 seconds to go.

On the next possession, Pacher was fouled by Reggie Johnson, sending him to the line for the one-and-bonus with 20 seconds left. AJ made his first attempt, but the second attempt missed, off the right side of the rim. Pacher followed his missed shot, grabbed the rebound, and was fouled one second later, again by Johnson, sending AJ back to the line for another one-and-bonus.

Pacher missed the front end of the bonus and the score remained 57-56. Miami’s Quinten Rollins grabbed the rebound and hit 2-of-4 free throw attempts over the next two consecutive possessions to stretch the RedHawk lead to 59-56 with 7 seconds to play.

Reggie Arceneaux fired up a desperation attempt at the buzzer from beyond the arc, in front of his team’s bench. It had little chance of going in, and the Raiders fell in final minute of a game for the fifth time in this young season.

Following the game, a disappointed AJ Pacher, with tears in his eyes, sniffled and spoke softly, taking blame for the loss. His coach saw it differently, however.

“It doesn’t come down to AJ’s free throws,” said Donlon. “There are a million plays before those free throws where the game could have been different.”

“In fact, he gave us a chance to win the game. Down late, we ran some stuff that got him layups. He caught it. He finished, and went up and scored. If he doesn’t make those plays, we don’t have a chance to make free throws at the end.”

“He got his own rebound on his own free throw miss. He tried to make a play to win the game and got fouled. If he just thinks about the end result (the missed free throw), then he’s learned nothing from this game.”

Pacher led the Raiders in scoring with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field and 1-of-3 from the charity stripe. Jerran Young was the only other Raider to score in double figures with ten points.

Next Up

Wright State returns to action at the Nutter Center on Thursday night (Dec. 19) with a 7:00 tip-off against Eastern Illinois (3-6).



Box score:

Box Score

Men’s Basketball Stats

 

Post-game Audio

Miami’s McKnight, Felder and Johnson

Hopkins and Pacher

Coach Donlon

 

 Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar



Purple Aces turn the Raiders blue

February 24, 2013

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders ventured outside of league play on Saturday afternoon, only to suffer one of their worst defeats of the season, at the hands of the Evansville Purple Aces from the Missouri Valley Conference, by a final score of 70-58. An impressive contingent of a few hundred Evansville fans made the trip to the NutterCenter, helping to lift the number in the house to 3,428.

The Raiders (18-10, 9-5 HL) were without the services of their top two scorers (Reggie Arceneaux and Cole Darling) for the second consecutive game due to injury. Freshman J.T. Yoho did his best to help fill the void by recording his first double-double, scoring twenty points and pulling down eleven rebounds … both career highs. Unfortunately for WrightState, he was one of the few bright spots for his team.

Evansville (16-13, 8-8 MVC) opened the contest by scoring the game’s first nine points, and the Raiders got no closer than five all afternoon long.

“We were absolutely hammered,” said WrightState head coach Billy Donlon. “Sometimes you’re the hammer, and sometimes you’re the nail. Today we were the nail.”

The Aces scored early and often, bolting to a 17-3 lead, just five and a half minutes into the contest. By that time, coach Donlon had already burned two time-outs in an effort to help stem the tide.

“In those time-outs, I thought that we were getting ready to be run out of here. I felt that we were getting ready to be beat by forty,” Donlon said.

“I never call two time-outs in the first five minutes of a game. It wasn’t their motion (offense). It was transition basketball. They (Evansville) just blew it up the floor. They blew by us on one pass in the half court. That’s not motion. We didn’t guard our guard very well.”

It wasn’t until the 11:59 mark of the first half that WrightState sank their first field goal. That came on a Jerran Young put-back off of a missed Matt Vest shot attempt from beyond the arc to make the score 17-5.

Down 21-7, the Raiders went on a 9-0 run to pull within 21-16, but the Aces countered with an 8-0 run of their own, to push the margin back to 29-16 with 6:11 before halftime.

Yoho kept his team within sight of the Aces with a hot shooting hand by scoring eight points over the next six minutes. He had 16 points, in all, before halftime. Still, the Raiders trailed 39-28 at the intermission.

WrightState drew to within 41-36, but six unanswered points by the Aces put Evansville comfortably back on top 47-36 with 15:23 left to play. From there, the Aces maintained a double-digit lead for all but a few seconds over the remainder of the contest. Evansville stretched their lead to 70-52, before the Raiders scored the game’s final six points.

“You have to be so mentally tough when you play a motion team,” Donlon said. “And I just didn’t think that we were there tonight.”

WSU was led in scoring by Yoho (20), Young (11), and Kendall Griffin (10). Matt Vest contributed with six rebounds and five assists.

WrightState returns to Horizon League action on Tuesday evening at UIC.

 

Injury Updates:

Reggie Arceneaux (concussion) is hopeful for Tuesday.

It is still being determined if or when Cole Darling (foot) will be back.

 

Box Score

 

Post Game Audio

Yoho and Griffin

Coach Donlon

Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar

 

 

 

#23 drops 23 for WSU but Valpo drops WSU 68-61

February 13, 2013

AJ Pacher stepped up big for WSU Tuesday night against Valpo with 7 points in 12 minutes of first half play and 23 points in 24 total game minutes.  Along with 6 rounds, 3 assists and steal, that is one impressive line in the box score.  Unfortunately, it was not enough to overcome the power game of Valpo as the Raiders fall to 17-9 (8-5).

It was quite the night in the Nutter Center as at least one of the men in stripes appeared to have chip on his shoulder before the game even started.  He allegedly was overheard complaining about the hostile crowds he had to deal with.  Given that several students and a platinum seat holder were threatened during the game and a former WSU Board of Trustee was ejected from the game, I’d say someone got up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday.   This ejected fan reportedly said something about the “pathetic officiating” but nothing vulgar or personal were part of the comments.

The officials did not impact the game’s outcome but they made themselves visible which is not what a quality crew does; officials should essentially go unnoticed as they do their job.

The Raider bench scored 45 of WSU’s 68 points (Pacher 23, Dixon 13 and Arceneauz 9) while the starting five struggled with 6-19 shooting (31%).  As a team WSU shot 41% while Valpo shot 49% for the contest.  Both teams struggled behind the arc shooting around 24%.

After playing 4 games in nine days last night, the Raiders are off until Feb 20 when the travel to Cleveland.  Then up is the Bracketbuster game against Evansville on Feb. 23, and finally, the last regular season home game against Youngstown on March 2.

 

Box Score

 

Post Game Audio

Donlon

Valpo Coach and Kevin Van_Wijk

WSU’s Pacher and Dixon

 

Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar

 

 

 

 

Raiders fall 83-76 to the Titans Wednesday night

January 31, 2013

Raiders drop third straight game and 4th in last five games.

Wright State (14-8, 5-4 Horizon) is off until Monday, February 4, when the Raiders host Loyola at 7:00.

Post game Audio

Arceneaux and Griffin

Donlon

Box Score

 

Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UIC Flames turn out the lights on Blackout Night: Raiders fall 55-49

January 27, 2013

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – Saturday evening was Blackout Night at the Nutter Center. The Wright State Raiders, playing on their home court, wore black uniforms and the first 5,000 fans that entered the turnstiles received black t-shirts to wear. It was also Homecoming weekend on campus, so a larger than normal crowd of 8,065 filled the place — double the size of WSU’s largest crowd in nine home dates this season.

Prior to tip-off, Blackout Night seemed like a festive occasion, unless of course, you are superstitious. One would be hard pressed to remember a good performance by any Raider team that played in those black uniforms. Tonight was no exception, as the Wright State Raiders suffered their first home loss of the season to the UIC Flames 55-49.

Maybe the Great Rowdy Raider in the sky frowns upon the black uniforms, because after all, green and gold are Wright State’s official colors.

“Burn them,” said WSU radio color analyst Bob Grote following the game. “We have never won in those things.”

The game began well enough for the Raiders (14-7, 5-3 HL). After a JT Yoho 3-pointer put Wright State on top 8-4, UIC proceeded to rattle off runs of 11-straight and 9-straight points, sandwiched around a Tavares Sledge field goal to give the Flames a commanding 24-10 lead with six minutes left in the first half.

UIC (13-8, 4-4 HL) played a zone defense and WSU was unable to shoot over it. Wright State played as poorly offensively as they could play, missing a lot of open shots, and hitting just 5-of-21 first half attempts. As a result, the Raiders found themselves on the wrong end of a 26-14 halftime score.

After UIC’s Josh Crittle began the second half by hitting a jumper to put the Flames ahead by a score of 28-14, Wright State went on a 12-2 run to pull to within 30-26 with 13:06 left to play.

A Cole Darling layup narrowed the gap to 38-36 at the 5:25 mark, but UIC was able to push their lead back to 48-41.

JT Yoho drained a three-pointer with 39 seconds left to play to make it 49-46, but UIC broke the Raider press on the ensuing in-bounds play for an easy layup by Crittle, which helped seal the 55-49 UIC victory.

Darling led the Raiders in scoring with 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Matt Vest hauled down nine rebounds and dished out four of the six Raider assists in the game.

WSU shot just 33-percent from the field for the game (18-of-54), and an ice-cold 2-of-19 from beyond the arc.

The loss was Wright State’s second straight defeat — both in the black uniforms — after beginning the season 14-5. The team had just returned home in the wee hours of Thursday morning following a brutal 3-game/5-day road trip.

“They’ve got to get their confidence back,” Donlon said. “We haven’t been able to practice. With four games in eight days, you don’t practice. In between days, you’re resting. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to get a practice in.”

 

Post Game Audio

Coach Donlon

Vest and Darling

 

Box Score

 

 Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raiders beat by Titans in final regular season home game

February 16, 2012

Johann Mpondo, the lone senior was honored tonight in front of an announced crowd of 3565.

The Raiders started slow but played aggressively and took a 5 point lead (33-28) late in the first half. The Titans however went on a tear to finish the last 3 and ½ minutes to take a 40-33 lead into the locker room. Both teams shot well in the first half – WSU 50% and UDM 57%. Free throws were even at 83% (both 10-12). Likewise, turnovers were even at 8 each.

Julius led the Raiders with 12 points followed by Battle with 7 and Arceneaux with 6. Detroit’s Holman dominated the paint in the first half and scored 10 points.

Then the second half begins and the Raiders go stone cold – 25% from the field (1-5 behind the arc). Julius Mays had 12 at the half and scored a mere 4 points in the second.

Again, the WSU Raiders showed their multiple personality disorder from one period to the next (not to mention from one game to the next) although the Titans did noticeably turn up the defensive pressure on the Raiders in the second half.

Mays and Battle were the double figures scorers for WSU while UDM had four in double figures.

UDM dominated the paint points 20-10 thanks to Eli Holman who had a double-double (12 points & 10 boards). Similarly, UDM used their height advantage on the glass, outrebounding WSU 35-22. It was a sloppy game by both squads – UDM had 16 turnovers and WSU had 15. UDM scored 19 points off WSU’s miscues while WSU scored 14 off UDM’s.

It was a tough way to close out the home portion of the WSU home season as the record now stands at 12-16 (7-9). The Raiders are 8th in the Horizon League standings.

Coach Donlin and Johann Mpondo spoke briefly after the game, thanking family friends and supporters.

Next up for WSU is the annual BracketBuster game on Saturday at 5pm at UMKC.

Postgame Audio

Donlon’s Opening Comments

Johann Mpondo

Donlon’s Closing Comments

Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar

Phoenix top Raiders 53-48, earn first road victory of season

February 11, 2012

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – The Green Bay Phoenix, previously winless in eleven tries away from home, demoralized a Wright State Raider team by the final score of 53-48 on Friday night at the Nutter Center.

Green Bay’s victory moves them into seventh place in the Horizon League standings, alongside Wright State with identical records of 6-8. However, by virtue of two victories in two attempts against the Raiders, the Phoenix currently hold the tie-breaker for the league tournament’s seventh-seed, with four league battles remaining.

Wright State (11-15, 6-8 HL) hoped to gain revenge for an earlier loss to Green Bay (10-13, 6-8) back on January 14. In that loss, the Raiders blew a 17-point lead with just over 13 minutes to play.

This defeat was a crushing blow to the Raiders. Holding his head in both hands, a somber Julius Mays said, “This one hurt bad. We gave that game away at Green Bay. Then we came here, on our home court, in front of our own fans, and didn’t fight long enough to pull it out.”

Sloppy play and cold shooting hampered both teams early on, but the Phoenix held the upper hand with a 10-7 lead, until Reggie Arceneaux drained a three-pointer with 8:31 remaining in the half, to spark a 7-0 run that gave Wright State their first lead of the night at 14-10.

Green Bay quickly evened the score at 14 at the 6:01 mark. Both teams continued to battle toe-to-toe over the remainder of the half, with Wright State coming away with a 24-23 halftime advantage.

The Raiders and Phoenix continued to grind away in the second half. Neither team was able to gain more than a four-point advantage over the next fifteen minutes that saw seven lead changes.

A pair of Vance Hall free throws put the Raiders on top 44-43 with 5:02 to play. However, a layup by Green Bay freshman Keifer Sykes — the hero who sank a pair of game-winning free throws with three seconds remaining in the season’s previous game — gave his team the lead for good at 45-44, hitting a layup with 4:05 remaining.

“Keifer Sykes was the best player on the floor,” said Wright State head coach Billy Donlon. “He willed his team to a win. Every time that they needed a basket, he found a way to get one — either from himself or a teammate. And that’s the story of the game.”

The Raiders had plenty of chances to pull out a victory over the game’s final minutes, but failed to make plays when they needed them most. Trailing 49-48, Wright State forced Green Bay into a missed shot, but failed to haul down the defensive rebound with 15 seconds to play.

Kam Cerroni was fouled and hit both free throw attempts, extending the Phoenix lead to 51-48. With ten seconds remaining and one last chance for WSU to tie the game, Reggie Arceneaux took the inbound pass, hurriedly drove the right baseline, but lost control of his dribble near the Raider bench. The ball went out of bounds, last touched by Arceneaux with seven seconds left.

Cerroni was fouled again and hit two more free throws, sealing Green Bay’s first victory away from the Resch Center in twelve attempts this season by a final score of 53-48 — the largest point differential of the entire contest.

“I’m very disappointed in the last three minutes of the game,” Donlon said. “They beat us to every fifty-fifty ball. It came down to effort plays.”

“That Wright State passion and toughness is not here right now,” he continued. “And we’re going to find out what our team is made of down the stretch.”

Johann Mpondo and Reggie Arceneaux led Wright State in scoring with twelve points apiece. Mpondo and Vance Hall pulled down a team-high of five rebounds each.

The Phoenix won the battle of the boards 38-25, including 14 rebounds on their offensive end of the floor.

Green Bay’s 7-foot-1 sophomore center, Alec Brown, recorded a double-double, leading the Phoenix in scoring with 14 points. Brown, the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots, with 134 entering the game, added three more to his total. He also grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds. In two contests this season against Wright State, Brown has swatted 14 Raider shots and grabbed 19 rebounds.

Postgame Audio

Coach Donlon

Mays and Mpondo

Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar

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Raiders Drop Heartbreaker to Butler 63-62

January 7, 2012

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders suffered a heartbreaking 63-62 defeat at the hands of the Butler Bulldogs in front of an ESPN-U television audience and 6,588 fans at the Nutter Center on Friday night. The victory moved Butler (9-7, 3-1 HL) into a six-way tie, atop of the early season Horizon League standings. The loss snapped Wright State’s four-game winning streak.

This contest had fans on the edge of their seats from start to finish. It was a classic, high intensity, Horizon League battle. Neither team was able to build more than a four point lead throughout the entire contest. The game saw twenty lead changes, and the score was tied 16 times.

Wright State (8-9, 3-2 HL) last led by four, 37-33 with 14:14 left to play. Butler then went on the only real run of the game, with a 10-2 spurt, putting them up 43-39 with 9:15 to play.

With the scored tied 54-54, Julius Mays, who scored eleven points over the final five minutes of the game, drained a three-pointer to give WSU a 57-54 advantage with 1:55 remaining. Butler’s 6-foot-11 Andrew Smith responded with a trey on his team’s next trip down the court, to even the score.

Mays then hit a pair of free throws to put WSU back on top 59-57 at 1:07. Twelve seconds later, Andrew Smith, who was just 7-of-24 for the season from behind the arc, nailed his second consecutive trey in a span of about 30 seconds, giving Butler the edge at 60-59 with under a minute left.

Mays missed a jumper on the ensuing possession. Butler’s Ronald Nored grabbed the rebound, was fouled, and hit both free throws to extend the Bulldog lead to 62-59 with 30.5 seconds to play.

John Balwigare attempted a trey from the right side, but was fouled with 21.6 seconds remaining. That sent him to the charity stripe with a chance to tie the game. With ice water in his veins, Balwigare calmly swished all three attempts, evening the score at 62.

With the shot clock off, Butler milked the game’s final seconds, until Nored drove down the right side of the lane. A blocking foul was called on Armond Battle, who couldn’t quite get into position to take the charge, sending Nored to the line for two free throws with 2.7 seconds left. Nored made the first shot to put the Bulldogs up by one point, but missed the second shot badly. The second missed shot was ruled an intentional miss by the officials, giving the Raiders the ball under Butlers’ basket.

Did Nored miss the free throw by design? “Yes, you’ve got to miss that,” said Butler head coach Brad Stevens. “They’re going to shoot a three, so it doesn’t matter if you’re up two or one. It’s a no-brainer to miss that. Just don’t foul on the rebound. If they try to score it from there, they’ve got a second, going in the wrong direction.”

With one last chance to score, Cole Darling inbounded a pass to Julius Mays, who drove the court and fired up a runner, twenty-five feet away at the buzzer. His shot appeared to have a chance, but it deflected off of the back of the iron, sending the Raiders to a crushing 63-62 defeat.

“I thought it was good,” said Mays. “When it hit the rim, I thought that it was going to stay in, but it rimmed out.”

Mays played a terrific game. He scored 24 points, hitting 6-of-9 from the field, including 2-of-2 from 3-point land. He connected on 10-of-11 from the charity stripe, grabbed seven rebounds, and did an outstanding job of guarding on defense.

It’s early in the year, but might Julius Mays be a Horizon League player of the year candidate? “Twenty-four (points), seven (rebounds) — it seems like he made every play at the end,” said Brad Stevens. “He’s on my short list. That’s for sure.”

Johann Mpondo and Reggie Arceneaux scored in double figures for the Raiders with 12 and 11 points respectively. Andrew Smith (19), Khyle Marshall (14), and Ronald Nored (11) led the way for the Bulldogs in scoring.

Butler was outstanding at finishing plays near the rim, while the Raiders were not. The Bulldogs outscored Wright State 38-20 in the paint. Although Butler hit just 3-of-16 shots from beyond the arc, they connected on 23-of-30 two-point attempts.

The Raiders shot 20-of-48 from the field (41.7 percent) and 16-of-19 from the line. Butler won the battle of the boards 28-25. The Bulldogs committed 21 turnovers to 18 for WSU.

Wright State returns to action Sunday afternoon for a 3:00 contest with Valparaiso.

Postgame Audio

WSU’s Mays and Mpondo

WSU’s Donlon

Butler’s Coach Stevens and Smith

Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar