Raiders take thriller from Northern Kentucky

February 17, 2018

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders recaptured a share of first place in the Horizon League with a thrilling 69-67 victory, over the Northern Kentucky Norse, in a high-emotion game in front of 7,205 fans and a nationally televised audience. The win pulls the Raiders into a tie with NKU in the league standings, while the UIC Flames lurk just one game behind.

“It feels great,” said WSU’s Parker Ernsthausen. “These guys (Northern Kentucky) got us three times last year, so we didn’t forget about that. Getting one at home, in front of the biggest crowd that I’ve seen in four years that I’ve been here, is awesome.”

“It was a good win as a program,” Wright State’s Loudon Love said. “But we still have some work to do. We’ve got three more games coming up, and we have to work just as hard and put just as much emotion into it.”

The Raiders (20-8, 12-3 HL) took early command in the contest on a Cole Gentry jumper to go up 15-8 with 8:34 left in the first half.

Northern Kentucky (19-8, 12-3 HL) answered with a 22-10 run over the next six minutes to go up 30-25. But the Raiders closed the half with seven-straight points to retake the lead on a Mark Hughes layup, a Love free throw, and three more free throws by Everett Winchester to put the Raiders up 32-30 at the intermission.

Tied at 34-all, Wright State scored seven-straight points to make it 41-34. But the Norse fought back and pulled to within 48-46 on a tip-in by Dantez Walton at the 11:07 mark.

The Raiders, however, opened up their largest lead of the night at 61-50 with 6:39 left. Northern Kentucky quickly answered by going on a 10-2 run in less than two minutes, to close to within 63-60 at 4:48.

WSU maintained a narrow lead over the next four-and-a-half minutes. A Jaylon Hall jumper stretched the Raiders’ one-point lead to 68-65 with 14 seconds to play.

With a chance to tie the game with a possible three-pointer, NKU’s Lavone Holland II was fouled ten feet outside the arc, before the Norse could get off a three-point attempt, with just 2.8 seconds remaining,.

“We told them, ‘If we have a chance to foul without them shooting, we’re going to foul,’” coach Nagy said.

Holland made his first free throw attempt, and tried to miss the second. Unfortunately for the Norse, his exaggeratedly high shot arched into the air and accidentally swished through the net, making it 68-67.

Jaylon Hall was intentionally fouled with 0.9 seconds left. He made his first free throw attempt to make it a two-point game. Because Northern Kentucky had no time outs left, Hall missed the second attempt on purpose. It forced the Norse to grab the rebound and heave a length-of-the-court shot in desperation. It was nowhere close to going in, and the end result was a 69-67 Wright State victory.

The Raiders were outrebounded by ten (37-27), which contributed to NKU outscoring WSU in second chance points 16-6.

“They whipped us on the glass,” Nagy said. “It’s not very often that you get beat ten on the glass and win a game. I’ve coached a lot of games, and I bet that I can count on one hand the number of times that we’ve been beat ten on the glass and won.”

“The reason probably was because we were good defensively and we didn’t turn the ball over. We really took care of the ball tonight against their pressure.”

Parker Ernsthausen had one of his best games of the season by far. He contributed with ten points on 4-of-6 shooting which included a three-pointer. He also grabbed three rebounds.

“He (Ernsthausen) took a shot in that Milwaukee game (six nights ago),” Nagy said. “That was the big question that I had for him: Are you going to have the courage to stay in there?”

“One of the things that he does better than anybody is taking charges, and he takes two of them tonight. He was good offensively. He knocked down a three. He made some plays off of the dribble for us and made some nice passes. And he had his hands full with Drew McDonald on top of that.”

Loudon Love led the Raiders with 15 points and six rebounds. Jaylon Hall chipped in with ten points, while Grant Benzinger and Mark Hughes both scored nine. Benzinger also pulled down six boards.

Series History

With the victory, Wright State improves to 23-10 in the all-time series against NKU.

Up Next

The Raiders will play their final home game of the regular season on Monday February 19 when they host the Cleveland State Vikings. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 pm, following the women’s game.


Raiders drop tough one to Milwaukee

February 11, 2018

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – The Milwaukee Panthers knocked the Wright State Raiders out of a first-place tie in the Horizon League with a 74-73 upset victory on Saturday night at the Nutter Center. It was a game that wasn’t as close as the final score might indicate. But the Raiders fought back hard, nearly overcoming a 17-point deficit in the final five minutes of the game, only to fall on a missed shot attempt at the buzzer.

“It’s a little disheartening,” WSU’s Mark Hughes said after the game. “We fought all the way back and came up a little bit short. At the same time, seeing that we had the fight in us and stuck with it until the very end is also encouraging. It’s important to see that just when you’re down, things aren’t really over.”

Wright State (19-8, 11-3 HL) jumped out to an early 4-0 advantage before Milwaukee’s Brock Stull hit a three-pointer to put the Panthers up 8-6. It was a lead that they never relinquished.

Milwaukee (14-14, 7-8 HL) opened up a 15-8 margin and controlled most of the game. The Raiders drew to within 15-13 at the 11:28 mark, but the Panthers went up eight points by the scores of 25-17 and 32-24.

Mark Hughes and Grant Benzinger answered by hitting back-to-back treys to pull Wright State to within 32-30. However, Milwaukee closed out the final three minutes of the half with an 8-2 run to head into the locker room back on top by eight at 40-32.

“It’s not a great matchup for us because they’re more physical than we are,” WSU head coach Scott Nagy said. “And we’re hanging on by the skin of our teeth right now … physically. Parker (Ernsthausen) got hurt in the first half, and Everett (Winchester) is not to where he needs to be.”

The Panther steadily stretched their lead to 47-36 on a Carson Warren-Newsome three-pointer. That was the same score that the Raiders trailed Green Bay, two nights earlier, before staging a comeback win.

Was another comeback in the Raiders’ tank? For a long while, it did not seem likely. Milwaukee extended their advantage to 58-43 when Jeremiah Bell hit another three-pointer with 12:06 left to remain steadily in control.

The Panthers, who entered the game dead-last in the Horizon League in three-point field goal percentage, were on fire from behind the arc. They had connected on 10-of-14 three-point shot attempts in the game’s first 30 minutes.

Milwaukee continued on, stretching their lead to 70-53 with 5:33 remaining. But that’s when Wright State turned up the defensive pressure and Milwaukee decided to milk the 30-second shot clock in an effort to shorten the game. That combination led to a 17-3 Raider run over the next five minutes, which saw WSU close the gap to 73-70 on a Cole Gentry layup with 18 seconds left to play.

Milwaukee’s Warren-Newsome hit a free throw, before missing the second, to make it 74-70. The Raiders came quickly down the court and Benzinger swished a deep three-pointer to draw within 74-73 with 11 seconds to go.

Brock Stull was intentionally fouled with nine seconds showing on the clock and missed both free throw attempts. The Raiders grabbed the rebound. Cole Gentry rushed the ball up court, and dished it off to Benzinger who fired up a shot, near the top of the arc, but this time his shot bounced off of the rim and the Raiders fell by one point.

“You look at the stats … We turned it over eight times, we beat them on the boards, our kids played hard, but they (Milwaukee) shot the heck out of it,” Nagy said. “Some of it is we weren’t sharp defensively early. It was the same thing up there. They got going and we had a hard time getting them stopped. Some of it was them, and some of it was us.”

The Panthers hit 29-of-49 from the field, including 12-of-22 from three-point land.

Milwaukee’s bench outscored a thin Wright State bench 19-10.

Loudon Love continued his incredible season. The 6-foot-9, 275 pound freshman, led the Raiders with 20 points and 19 rebounds. Hughes and Benzinger added 19 and 14 points respectively.

Series History

With the loss and regular season sweep from Milwaukee, Wright state falls to 28-30 in the all-time series record to the Panthers.

Up Next

The Raiders host Northern Kentucky, in a battle for first place in the Horizon League at stake, on Friday February 16. Game time is set for 9 pm and will be broadcast live on ESPNU.

“We’ll face a team on Friday that we beat,” Nagy said. “They’ll be motivated. They’re a lot deeper than us and probably a lot more healthy, at this point.”


Raiders shut down Oakland to maintain league control

January 28, 2018

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders solidified their first-place lead in the Horizon League with a 64-51 victory over the third-place Oakland Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon at the Nutter Center.

The 51 points scored by the Grizzlies were 30 under their season average of 81.7 points per game. Oakland shot less than 31-percent from the field (16-of-52), including 4-of-24 from beyond the arc for the game.

Oakland’s Kendrick Nunn, who entered the game on pace to break Steph Curry’s single-season record for three-pointers made (162), was held to just 2-of-12 from behind the arc. Through his first 22 games, Nunn had made 97 three-pointers, while Curry had 90 after the same number of games.

“We weren’t great offensively, but we were really good defensively,” said Wright State head coach Scott Nagy. “Mark Hughes struggled offensively, but boy, he’s been good defensively.”

“On the ball, he’s about as good as I’ve ever coached. He gives himself up every night to guard the best player. And with Nunn in here, we know that he’s the best player, and Mark did a great job.”

Oakland (14-9, 6-4 HL) entered the contest on a five-game winning streak. Their last loss — also at the hands of the Raiders – came in an overtime battle at Oakland on January 7.

With the win, the Raiders (17-6, 9-1 HL), have won ten of their last eleven contests, and continue to lead Northern Kentucky by one game in the league standings. An Oakland victory would have put the Grizzlies in the thick of the league race, at just one game behind both WSU and NKU. But with the loss, Oakland falls three games behind Wright State with eight games left to play.

“This was an important game for us, obviously, to push to lead back out in terms of the league,” Nagy said.

This was the fourth game in a row on the road for Oakland.

“You get to the point where it just wears you out, even when you travel home and go back out,” Nagy said. “They just looked tired in the second half.”

“It’s kind of how we were in Milwaukee, when we had so many games in the row on the road. It’s tough on your legs, and your mind, and everything else. But they (Oakland) had a great run. They won three of those road games.”

Loudon Love made his presence felt early. Wright State’s 6-foot-9 freshman center scored his team’s first seven points and had grabbed four rebounds before the first media timeout, giving his team an early 7-2 lead.

The Grizzlies responded by scoring the next seven points to take a brief 2-point advantage — their only lead of the afternoon — before Wright State went on a 10-0 run to put the Raiders back on top 17-9, midway through the first half.

The Raiders stretched the margin to 37-21, before Oakland’s Kendrick Nunn banked a three-pointer off of the glass from the behind the top of the arc, to narrow the WSU’s halftime lead to 37-24.

Love finished the first half with a double-double: 15 points and 11rebounds.

Wright State came out of the locker room a bit sluggish, and Oakland capitalized off of three straight WSU turnovers to close the gap to 42-35 with 15:42 left.

That’s when Everett Winchester sank a pair of free throws, and Jaylon Hall scored five quick points on a jumper and three-pointer. Love added a free throw, and Parker Ernsthausen capped the 12-0 Raider run with a pair of layups to give Wright State their largest lead of the contest 54-35 with 9:50 to play.

That proved to be the turning point of the game.

“Jaylon had five straight points there,” Nagy said. “He ran out on that break and got to the corner. That’s kind of where I thought they started to look tired, and Jaylon got a wide open shot.”

“And they had some tough mismatches, like Hayes on Jaylon, figuring they’ve got to put him on a freshman. But that’s not an easy guard for him. He’s used to guarding big guys and not guards.”

Oakland got to within 60-49 with 4:15 left, but eventually fell to Wright State by the final score of 64-51.

The bulk of Oakland’s offensive firepower comes from three players. Kendrick Nunn, Jalen Hayes, and Martez Walker entered the game averaging 26.8, 19.6, and 18.2 points respectively, for 64.6 of Oakland’s 81.7 average points per game. This afternoon followed a similar script with Nunn (18), Hayes (13), and Walker (11) scoring all but nine of their team’s 51 points.

Wright State won the battle of the boards 46-31. The Raiders bench outscored Oakland’s bench 22-2, with freshmen Jaylon Hall and Everett Winchester scoring 15 and 7 points respectively.

The Raiders shot 24-of-63 from the field, including 5-of-18 from beyond the arc, and 11-of 13 from the charity stripe.

Loudon Love, who had 25 points and 17 rebounds in the season’s earlier matchup with the Grizzlies, finished this game with 18 points and 17 rebounds.

“He’s had an unbelievable season so far, and I hope he keeps going,” Nagy said. “We’re awfully proud of him.”

Series History

With the season sweep, Wright State improves to 11-7 in the all-time series record against Oakland.

Up Next

The Raiders hit the road for a pair of contests against Cleveland State and Youngstown State, before returning home for a four-game home stand, which will be the final four games of the regular season played at the Nutter Center. The opponents for that home stand will be Green Bay, Milwaukee, Northern Kentucky, and Cleveland State, beginning on Thursday February 8 with a 7:30 pm tipoff against the Green Bay Phoenix.


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.


Balanced attack and defense lead to Raider victory over Kent State

December 10, 2017

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – Despite seeing their three best shooters combine for just 3-of-19 from beyond the arc, the Wright State Raiders used a balanced scoring attack and some outstanding team defense to defeat the Kent State Golden Eagles 63-54 on Saturday afternoon in front of 3,448 at the Nutter Center.

The Raiders were led by four players scoring in double figures: Grant Benzinger (13), Parker Ernsthausen (11), Jaylon Hall (11), and Everett Winchester (10). Justin Mitchell grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds.

Wright State head coach Scott Nagy was pleased with his team’s balanced scoring. “I like that,” Nagy said. “Obviously, any coach would want that. When we played Western Kentucky, they had six players who averaged double figures in scoring, and I had never seen that before. We are very, very close to having that. We just need to shoot a better percentage. … We got good shots tonight. That’s all you can ask for.”

“The key is to not let it affect the defensive end. Mark (Hughes) and Grant (Benzinger) did a good job of not letting it affect that end.”

The Golden Eagles (5-5) opened the contest by scoring the game’s first five points. Wright State (6-4) answered with the next seven on three free throws by Benzinger, a layup by Louden Love, and a layup by Ernsthausen to go up 7-5.

Both teams battled to a 17-all tie until the Raiders went on a 12-2 run to go up 29-19 at the 2:48 mark and eventually headed into the halftime locker room with a 31-24 advantage.

Leading 33-28, Wright State blew the game open and took command for good on a layup by Justin Mitchell, followed by a three-pointer and layup by Grant Benzinger to increase the WSU lead to 40-28 with 15:37 left to play.

The Raiders led by as much as 54-40 with 6:04 to go. And a Jaylon Hall three-pointer made it 58-46 with 3:01 left.

Kent State drew to within 59-54 with 22 seconds remaining, due in part to the Raiders missing 3-of-4 free throw attempts and some turnovers. But Benzinger and Ernsthausen combined to hit 4-of-4 from the charity stripe down the stretch to preserve the 63-54 Wright State victory.

It’s not very often that a team shoots 4-of-22 from the threes and still win a game, but coach Nagy thought that his team did all of the things that define who they want to be.

“We’d like to be better offensively,” Nagy said, “And we’ll get there. I’m less concerned about that, and more concerned about us staying at the level that we were defensively, with the hustle plays. We saw kids on the floor making plays. I’m really pleased with the level that they are playing.”

“The key is to be consistent, and let that be who we are. The offense will come.”

Series History

With the victory, Wright State makes it three in a row over Kent State to improve to 3-2 in the all-time series.

A John Ross led Raiders team dropped the first-ever meeting between the two schools on January 16, 1974 by the final score of 87-78.

Kent State defeated Ralph Underhill’s Raiders 108-95 in February 1989 in their next encounter, followed by a Wright State 62-61 victory one year later, in the inaugural season of men’s basketball at the Nutter Center.

After 26 seasons, the series resumed with the Raiders winning on the road 68-63, over a Kent State team that earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Up Next

The Raiders embark on a three-game road trip (Toldeo, Missouri State, Georgia Tech) before returning home to begin Horizon League play on Thursday, December 28 against the UIC Flames. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm.

The Raiders return to the hardwood, again at the Nutter Center, less than 48 hours later, with a 4:00 pm match-up with the Horizon League’s newest member, IUPUI, on Saturday, December 30.


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.”


Raiders can’t weather storm against Valpo

February 25, 2017

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – On a night in which a severe winter thunder-and-hail-storm could be heard inside the Nutter Center — like never before in its 26-year history — the Wright State Raiders could not hold on to a 10-point second half lead, and eventually fell to the Valparaiso Crusaders by the final score of 84-74.

“We’ve lost three conference home games,” WSU head coach Scott Nagy said. “That’s the difference between being a conference champion and finishing fifth.”

On several occasions during the storm outside — especially midway into in the first half — loud thunder and the deafening sounds of hail striking against the arena roof could be heard inside. It was so loud that many in attendance pointed up, towards the roof. At one point, a few pieces of hail made their way, possibly through some vents, onto the floor during play. Although the referees didn’t seem to notice, a few players on the Valpo bench could be seen pointing to the hail on the court.

The Crusaders came to town, sporting the best record in the Horizon League, but unknown to most until just before game time, Valpo would be without the services of their best player and NBA prospect, Alec Peters. Peters has been wearing a boot cast over his ankle, since his team’s Green Bay game, three weeks ago. He was also walking with crutches, but could have played if necessary.

With the number-one or number-two seed in next week’s Horizon League tournament a certainty, Valpo’s coaching staff decided to hold Peters out of the lineup to help ensure that he is as healthy as possible for tournament play.

Peters is averaging a double-double, with 23.0 points (ranked eighth in the nation) and 10.1 rebounds per game.

Not only were Crusader fans disappointed to see him out of the lineup, but so too, were four NBA scouts that made the trip to the Nutter Center to watch him. All four were gone by halftime.

“They (Valpo) had a lot to play for in not having their best player with them,” Nagy said. “A lot of other kids stepped up for them.”

Although the first half of the game saw eleven lead changes, the early going was a game of streaks.

Wright State (19-11, 10-7 HL) jumped out to an early 8-2 advantage, before Valpo scored the next seven points to go on top 9-8. Grant Benzinger followed with a jumper and three-pointer to make it 13-9 Raiders.

Valparaiso (24-6, 14-3 HL) promptly answered by scoring 10-straight to go back on top 19-13, before the Raiders followed that with 7-straight of their own to go back up 20-19 at the 8:54 mark of the half.

Trailing 30-27 with 6:10 to play before the intermission, Ryan Custer and Benzinger began a 15-4 Raider run, with a pair of free throws each, to close out the first half and send WSU into the locker room with a 42-34 lead.

With an 8-point WSU halftime lead, had your psychic friend told you that the Raiders would shoot 55-percent in the second half, you would have felt pretty good about Wright State’s chances of holding on for the victory.

Well, the Raiders did shoot 55-percent in the second half, but they were outscored 50-32 the rest of the way, due in part to 13 second half turnovers and some defensive miscues.

“We’re just not good enough defensively to sustain it,” Nagy said. “We could do it in Detroit (HL tournament) for three games, but we haven’t been good enough over a long period of time to win a championship.”

“Some of it is because we’re naturally not physical. There’s nothing we can do about that. We don’t weigh a lot. So we just can’t push people around. We’re not that athletic, and we don’t have a shot blocker. So it’s hard to be a great defensive team when you throw all three of those together.”

The Raiders enjoyed their largest lead of the night 46-36 with 17:42 to play, but it was all Valpo after that.

The Crusaders drew even at 53-all on a Tevonn Walker free throw with 12:32 left, and pulled ahead 60-57 on a Shane Hammink 3-pointer.

Mark Alstork tied it up 60-60 at the 8:45 mark on a shot from behind the arc. It was his 1,000th career point as a Raider, but it was the last time that WSU would be even with Valpo on the night.

The Crusaders scored the next seven points to go up for good at 67-60. Wright State drew to within 74-73 on a Justin Mitchell layup with 3:35 to play, but Valpo closed the game with a 10-1 run to win 84-74.

“We shot 54-percent (from the field), 50-percent from three, 83-percent from the free throw line, outrebounded them, had 17 assists, and lost the game. It’s unbelievable.” Nagy said. “We had 22 turnovers. That’s all you’ve got to look at.”

Mark Alstork led the Raiders in scoring with 28 points.

Three Crusaders picked up the slack, for a missing Alec Peters, by scoring in double figures: Shane Hammink (25), Lexus Williams (19), and Tevonn Walker (17).

Horizon League Been Berry, Berry, Good To Valpo

In ten seasons since joining the Horizon League, Valpo now has a 115-58 (.665) league record.

Since Butler left the conference five years ago, the Valpo men’s basketball program has assumed the role as the premier team in the Horizon League. With tonight’s win, Valpo is guaranteed at least a share of the Horizon League title for the fifth time in the last six years.

The three winningest season’s in Valpo program history have come in the last five years: 26 wins (2012-13), 28 wins (2014-15), and 30 wins (2015-16).

By winning last year’s regular season league title, Valpo received an automatic bid to the NIT tournament. They defeated Texas Southern, Florida State, and Saint Mary’s. After advancing to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York City, they beat BYU, before falling in the championship game to George Washington.

Post game audio

Coach

Alstork and Davis

Series History

After tonight’s game, the all-time series between Wright State and Valparaiso is tied at 15-all. The loss drops WSU to 9-6 versus Valpo at the Nutter Center. The Crusaders now hold a 13-10 advantage in the series since rejoining the Horizon League ten years ago.

Up Next

The Raiders conclude the regular season with a match-up against the Illinois-Chicago Flames on Sunday February 26. Tip-off for that on is set for 2:00 pm.


Mitchell’s triple-double leads WSU over Green Bay

February 12, 2017

By Mike Klingshirn

DAYTON, Ohio – On Saturday night at the Nutter Center, Justin Mitchell became just the third player in Wright State University men’s basketball history to record a triple-double in a game. He led his team to an 88-79 victory over the Green Bay Phoenix by dishing out 10 assists, grabbing 11 rebounds, and scoring 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the floor, and 4-of-4 from the free throw line.

The two other Raiders to record a triple-double for the Green & Gold are Keion Brooks and Vernard Hollins. Coincidentally, all three players are from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

“It just doesn’t happen very often,” WSU head coach Scott Nagy said about Mitchell’s triple-double. “This is my twenty-second year of coaching, and it’s only the second time that it has happened for me.”

“It flat-out takes a guard that is a consistent rebounder. Let’s face it. He’s our best, and it’s not even close. For a guy that’s not a natural point guard, ten assists is tremendous.”

Trailing 24-19 with 7:46 left in the half, Wright State (17-9, 8-5 HL) scored eight straight points on a Mitchell jumper, and 3-pointers from Ryan Custer and Mark Alstork to put the Raiders up 27-24.

Both teams traded blows, the rest of the half, before heading into the intermission locker room tied at 38-all.

The first twenty minutes saw seven lead changes and seven tied scores. That would not be the case in the second half.

The Raiders set the tone for the rest of the game by opening the second stanza with a 7-2 run on an Alstork trey, a Steven Davis layup, and an Alstork jumper. It put Wright State up for good, 45-40, with 17:37 to play.

Green Bay (15-11, 9-5 HL) got to within three points, on three occasions, over the next three minutes (45-42, 49-46, 51-48). WSU pulled away from there, stretching the margin to 62-52 and 71-57 with 5:51 left.

One difference in the second half was WSU’s ability to keep the Phoenix off of the offensive glass. UWGB had six offensive rebounds in the first twenty minutes but were held to only two on their end of the court after halftime.

“We had a lot of nice hustle plays tonight,” Nagy said. “Our kids really fought. They are a hard team to beat on the glass. They’re athletic. They’re deep. And they just wear you down.”

Green Bay didn’t go away easily, however. They scored the next eight points on 3-pointers by Turner Botz and Tevin Findlay, and a jumper by Jamar Hurdle to close to within 71-65 with 4:29 remaining.

Wright State scored the next six points to stretch their lead to 77-65 with 3:10 to play, and 87-76 with 42 seconds left, before coming away with the 88-79 victory.

Besides Mitchell’s triple-double, the Raiders were led in scoring by Alstork (20), Davis (17) and Benzinger (16).

Wright State won the battle of the boards 30-29. They made 22 assists, while committing 13 turnovers.

Was Mitchell aware that he was coming close to a triple-double? “Yah, he came and told me,” Alsork commented. “I said, ‘I got you. I got you.’”

Post game Audio

Coach:

Alstork and Mitchell:

Series History

With the win, Wright State’s all-time series record against Green Bay improves to 26-31.

Up Next

The Raiders hit the road for three games before returning home for their final two games of the regular season at the Nutter Center. They will host Valparaiso on Friday night February 24. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm. Illinois-Chicago will be the final regular season opponent on Sunday afternoon February 26. Tip-off for that on is slated for 2:00 pm.


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