By Mike Klingshirn
DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders scored 100 points against a Division I opponent for the first time in more than 17 years, when they defeated the Detroit Mercy Titans by the final score of 106-88 on Friday night at the Nutter Center.
The last time that the Raiders (13-7, 4-3 HL) hit the century-mark was on December 16, 1999, when they beat Prairie View A & M 104-74. The last time that they reached 100 points against a league opponent was at UIC on January 4, 1999 by the score of 100-74.
Detroit (4-15, 2-5 HL), winners against just one Division-I team in their first 16 contests, introduced a new pressure defense four games ago. The new defense caused 89 turnovers over that four-game span, and helped produce a two-game Titan winning streak entering the contest. One week ago, they forced Oakland into 25 turnovers on the Golden Grizzlies own court, while pulling off a stunning upset over the previously unbeaten (in league) league-leaders.
And Detroit’s pressure defense on this night, led to a fast-paced high-scoring affair for both teams. The Raiders trailed 26-25, barely eight minutes into the game. At that point, WSU turned up the defense and started to guard. It resulted in Wright State outscoring UDM 35-12 over the remainder of the half, sending them into the intermission with a 60-38 lead.
Detroit’s newly implemented defense didn’t seem to bother the Raiders, as they dished out 15 first half assists while committing just four turnovers.
“It’s the best we’ve passed the ball all year, by far, particularly in the first half,” head coach Scott Nagy said. “We were really good offensively. We shared the ball extremely well. We had 15 assists. I’m not sure we’ve had 15 assists in a game all year.”
The Raiders maintained a twenty point advantage for nearly the entire second half. They enjoyed their largest lead of the night 84-56 with 8:25 left to play. Detroit got to within 16 points on a couple of occasions at 89-73 and 96-80, but Wright State never allowed them to make a serious challenge.
Memories of some large second half leads that slipped away against Miami and Youngstown State were the topic of conversation in the halftime locker room.
“We’ve come out flat a lot of times in the second half,” Steven Davis said. “We wanted to break that streak and come out and play like we did in the first half. We finally strung together a full forty minutes, and we feel good about it.”
“As a team, we have to grow up,” Nagy added. “When you get a lead like that, you’ve got to put people away. We were much more focused in the start of the second half. We were much sharper than in those other games.”
Five Raiders scored in double figures: Davis (27), Justin Mitchell (22), Grant Benzinger (22), Mike La Tulip (13), and Mark Alstork (11). Benzinger pulled down nine boards, while Davis grabbed eight and Mitchell had seven.
The Raiders shot 49 percent from the field, and hit 33-of-45 free throw attempts.
“Because of their pressure, they foul a lot,” Nagy said. “If you’re weak with it, they’ll rip it out of your hands, but I thought that our kids did a really nice job passing the ball.”
“I wish we would have shot free throws a little better, but you’re generally going to win those games when you’re shooting 45 free throws.”
Post game audio
Benzinger and Davis
The 60 first half points scored by the Raiders, fell 20 points shy of the school record for points in a half. On March 2, 1983, Wright State scored 80 points in a half against St. Joseph’s. No, it was not the St. Joseph’s, Hawks, who are members of the Atlantic 10. It was the St. Joseph’s Pumas, a small school from Rensselaer, Indiana.
Tonight’s 106 Wright State points was 30 shy of the school record for points in a game, set on January 6, 1993, in a 136-91 victory over Chicago State.
This is the 38th year in the Horizon League for the University of Detroit Mercy, the eldest program in the league. In their 111 years of men’s basketball, Detroit Mercy has made six NCAA tournament (1962, 1977, 1979, 1998, 1999, 2012) and seven NIT appearances (1960, 1961, 1965, 1978, 2001, 2001, 2013).
With tonight’s win Wright State’s all-time series record against Detroit Mercy improves to 29-26. The Raiders hold a 19-7 upper hand, dating back to December 2, 2006. Wright State began that stretch with a perfect 10-0 record against the Titans under head coach Brad Brownell.
The Raiders return to action on Sunday afternoon at the Nutter Center against the Oakland Grizzlies. Tip-off is set for 2:00 pm.
By Mike Klingshirn
DAYTON, Ohio – On this cold January afternoon, with temperatures outdoors in the single digits, the Wright State Raiders built a commanding 14-point halftime lead against the Youngstown State Penguins. But in the end, it was a story of two halves as the Wright State defense melted like a Popsicle in a hot Arizona desert.
The Penguins, who were held to 34-percent from the field in the first half, came back after halftime to connect on 20-of-33 shots, most of them layups, to outscore the Raiders 50-31 in the game’s final twenty minutes.
“We got away from what we usually do,” WSU’s Steven Davis said. “We had some slip-ups and we let our offense affect our defense. We’ve got to pride ourselves on our defense, not our offense.”
Youngstown State (8-9, 2-2 HL) held the early upper hand, taking an 11-8 lead five minutes into the contest. The Raiders (11-6, 2-2 HL), however, answered with the next seven-straight points to go up 15-11.
Grant Benzinger had the hot hand in the early going for Wright State. He hit four consecutive shots from behind the arc, for twelve points, over a four-minute span midway through the first half. It was the spark that ignited a Raiders rally that stretched his team’s lead to 37-24, before heading into the halftime locker room with a seemingly comfortable 44-30 lead.
The Penguins climbed the tall mountain to go back on top 63-62, when Braun Hartfield hit one-of-two free throws with 7:57 left to play.
Mark Alstork sank a 3-pointer to tie it 68-all at the 4:26 mark. The Penguins followed with a Francisco Santiago jumper and a Cameron Morse layup to put the stunned Raiders into a 72-68 hole with 3:12 remaining.
Another Mark Alstork 3-pointer on the next possession made it 72-71, but YSU’s Santiago answered with a trey of his own to reestablish a 4-point Penguin advantage with 1:52 to play. The Raiders drew to within 75-73, but a Cameron Morse jumper with 20 seconds left and three YSU free throws sealed Wright State’s fate 80-75.
“They had more energy and out-toughed us in the second half,” Benzinger said. “It’s hard to swallow, but we’ve got to own it.”
Four Penguins scored in double figures: Santiago (20), Morse (16), Jorden Kaufman (14), and Matt Donlan (11).
Justin Mitchell and Grant Benzinger recorded double-doubles for the Raiders. Mitchell had 18 points, while Benzinger added 12. Both pulled down ten rebounds. Three other Raiders scored in double figures: Steven Davis (19), Alstork (12), and Parker Ernsthausen (10). Davis also contributed with eight rebounds.
“We had five players in double figures, two guys with double-doubles, and ten turnovers,” Nagy said. “We did all of those things right, but if you don’t guard, you don’t win.”
“Not only did we not guard in the second half, everything offensively just went out the window, and it became one-on-one in frustration. We’re not good enough to do that. We have to be able to score off of team offense.”
Raider sophomore Mark Hughes was carried to the locker room after suffering a leg injury on a drive under the basket midway in the second half. Coach Nagy had no update on his status shortly after the game.
Announced attendance for the game was 3,977 … the largest crowd through nine home games this season.
With this afternoon’s loss to the Penguins, the Raiders fall to 42-12 in their all-time series against Youngstown State. The Penguins have won two of the last three encounters at the Nutter Center. They last won at Wright State 74-69 on Feb. 15, 2015 over a Raider team that finished 11-20 in an injury-riddled season.
The Raiders travel to the state of Wisconsin for a pair of games against Green Bay (Jan. 12) and Milwaukee (Jan.14), before returning home for a brief two-game home stand beginning with the Detroit Mercy Titans on Friday January 20 at 7:00 pm. The Raiders then return to action at the Nutter Center, less than 48 hours later, to battle the Oakland Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon January 22 at 2:00 pm.
Benzinger and Davis
By Mike Klingshirn
DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders completed a three game sweep over all three opponents in the MABC Classic with a hard-fought 75-67 victory over the North Florida Ospreys on Sunday afternoon in front of 2,975 at the Nutter Center.
WSU head coach Scott Nagy was pleased with three victories in three days over quality programs.
“This was a really good tournament,” Nagy said. “Every team that we played here is going to win 20 games and they all have a chance to win their leagues, so these were good wins.”
“We’re happy to be 6-1, but I don’t think that there is anyone in there that feels like we’re playing unbelievable either.”
The first twenty-eight minutes of this contest was a game of streaks.
Wright State’s Mike La Tulip and Grant Benzinger opened the contest by hitting a pair of treys in the opening minute to go up 6-0.
The North Florida Ospreys (3-5) countered by going on a 19-5 run over the next eight minutes to take their largest lead of the game 19-11.
The Raiders answered by scoring 9-straight on a Mark Hughes 3-pointer, a Parker Ernsthausen layup, a tip-in by Benzinger, and two Mark Alstork free throws to recapture the lead 20-19 with 8:30 left in the half.
After a 27-all tie, WSU went on a 13-2 run to go up 40-27, and eventually into the halftime locker room with a 40-31 lead.
After a Justin Mitchell layup, to open the second stanza made it 42-31, the Raiders went into a scoring drought, similar to the one two nights before against Cal State Bakersfield. The Ospreys outscored Wright State 11-2 over the next eight minutes to close to within 44-42 on a jumper by Dallas Moore.
Nagy offered a possible explanation for the droughts. “We’re not very deep, and I think that there are times where we get tired,” he said. “I think that’s when it happens to us. Maybe I’ve got to do a better job using and spacing our time outs.
With the Raiders still up 47-44 and 10:54 to play, Grant Benzinger caught fire by hitting four 3-pointers over the six minutes to stretch the lead to 63-53 with 5:02 left. It turned out to be the difference in the game.
Benzinger has been playing the four-position and mixing it up more this year.
“That’s not because I think it’s his best position, but just because we don’t have great depth. We’re not that big,” Nagy said. “The one reason we feel like we can play him at the four is because he’s a tough kid. That’s why we start him there. He plays the two for us. He plays the three. He plays the four. He’s not just a three-point shooter any more. He has worked hard and it is to his credit.”
A Steven Davis layup gave WSU their largest lead of the night at 67-55 with 3:31 remaining. North Florida closed it to within 69-65 with 37 seconds left, but La Tulip (4-of-4) and Davis (2-of-2) sank six straight free throws to ensure the victory.
“We had three tough games,” Steven Davis said. “Our goal was to protect the Nutter. We did what we needed to do to get our wins.”
“Six out of seven were at home. We did a pretty good job protecting our house,” Benzinger added. “We let one slip by with Toledo, but we learned from it. Now in December, we’ll be going on the road a lot, and that will really show what we’re about and how tough we are.”
Four Raiders scored in double figures: Benzinger (21), Davis (16), La Tulip (13), Justin Mitchell (11).
Dallas Moore led North Florida with 29 points.
“Now we go on the road. We’ve had a lot of games at home,” Nagy said. “Average teams can win at home. Great teams win on the road. So it will be a good test for us.”
Wright State and North Florida met just one time prior to tonight’s game. That encounter resulted in a 69-52 Raider loss on November 23, 2011, in the fourth and final game of the Global Sports Shootout. Billy Donlon was the head coach. His team also played Ohio State (73-42 loss), Jackson State (56-39 win), and Florida (78-65 loss) in the Shootout.
MABC Classic Sunday Game One
Connor Avants tipped in a missed Cortez Seales’ shot at the buzzer to lift North Dakota (4-2) over Cal State Bakersfield (4-3) by the score of 57-55. The Fighting Hawks overcame a 16-point deficit with less than ten minutes to play for the win.
MABC Classic All-Tournament Team
Damiyne Durham (Cal St. Bakersfield)
MABC Classic Most Valuable Player
Grant Benzinger (Wright St)
Benzinger and Davis
The Raiders hit the road for nearly the entire month of December. Their lone home game will be Tuesday December 13 against Division-II Urbana University. Game time is scheduled for 7 pm.
The slate of December road games begins with buy-games at Penn State (Dec. 3) and Loyola of Chicago (Dec. 7). Following a game at the Nutter Center against Urbana, the Raider will travel to Kent State (Dec. 18) and Murray State (Dec. 22), before beginning Horizon League play at Oakland (Dec. 29) and Detroit (Dec. 31).
By Mike Klingshirn
DAYTON, Ohio – It was a struggle for the second night in a row in the MABC Classic for the Wright State Raiders, but in the end they pulled away for an 83-79 victory over the North Dakota Fighting Hawks.
Mark Alstork, the team’s leading scorer, with a 29.0 average, was held scoreless from the field for the game. But as has been the case in most games thus far into the season, he drew a lot of fouls and scored ten points on 10-of-11 shooting from the foul line.
“It was good for Mark Alstork not to have an unbelievable game and for us to still win,” WSU head coach Scott Nagy said. “He doesn’t have to carry the load all of the time. He’s going to wear himself out if he thinks he does. It will help him trust his teammates”
The Raiders (5-1) led briefly at 13-12, before North Dakota (3-2) broke away to take their largest lead of the contest 27-18 with 5:24 left in the half.
The Raiders weren’t very good in the first half, but Grant Benzinger exploded to score the game’s next eight points over the next ninety seconds, by hitting a pair of three-pointers and driving for a layup to pull his team back into the contest 27-26. Wright State managed to keep it close and entered the halftime locker room down 36-34.
The Raiders were good offensively, but awful defensively to start the second half, as the Fighting Hawks maintained a 62-56 advantage coming out of the 7:30 media time out.
Steven Davis gave his team the spark that changed the momentum for the rest of the game when he flushed a one-handed slam dunk. It began a 14-1 run over the next six minutes, and Wright State found themselves up 70-63 with just 2:31 to play.
With both teams in the bonus, it was a free throw shooting contest the rest of the way. NDU pulled to within 77-74 with 31 seconds left, but the Raiders held on for the victory.
Steven Davis and Grant Benzinger led Wright State with 23 and 22 points respectively. Justin Mitchell added 16.
The Raiders out rebounded a taller NDU squad 39-32.
Wright State shot 38.9-percent from the field and hit 32-of-37 from the foul line. North Dakota shot 46.7-percent from the floor and went 17-of-23 from the line.
“The one thing that has really been saving us in every game is the fact that we’re getting to the free throw line a lot. And we’re shooting a pretty good percentage.” Nagy said. “When you make more than your opponent attempts, you have a pretty good chance to win the game, almost every time.”
“We have big strong guards that are aggressive. When Steven (Davis) plays a 5, he’s s driver more than he’s a post player. So we end up on the free throw line quite a bit.
MABC Classic Saturday Game One Final Score
Cal State Bakersfield 77 (4-2) North Florida 54 (3-4)
Wright State and North Dakota met just one time prior to tonight’s contest. That was at North Dakota on December 20, 1976. WSU head coach Marcus Jackson’s team drohpped that decision by the final score of 67-58.
Wright State’s third and final game of The Men Against Breast Cancer Classic will be tomorrow Sun. Nov. 27 against North Florida at 4:30pm. Game one of the double header will feature CSU Bakersfield against North Florida at 2:00pm.
By Mike Klingshirn
DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders survived a ten-plus minute scoring drought in the second half, thanks to an outstanding defensive effort, to come away with a 68-64 victory over the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners on Friday night in the first round of the MABC Classic.
“Good seasons are made up of a lot of games like that,” said WSU head coach Scott Nagy. “We struggled offensively. We didn’t rebound the ball very well. We didn’t shoot free throws very good.”
“Our struggles offensively had a lot to do with them. They’re a really good basketball team and I think you’ll see them in the NCAA basketball tournament at the end of the year.”
The Raiders, who had allowed their opponents to shoot over 50-percent from the field in each of the first two games, held the Roadrunners to just 34.9-percent, including just 5-of-24 from beyond the arc.
“Where I’m most pleased is that we guarded for the first time, and we were able to win a game without playing good offensively.” Nagy said. “In order to be a really good team, that’s what you have to do. That’s what won it for us, because there were other things that didn’t go right.”
CSUB’s game plan was to deny Wright State’s Mark Altork from scoring. They held the Raider, who averaged 30.3 points per game coming into the contest, to just one field goal over the game’s first 38 minutes. But in the end, it was Alsork who hit two big three-pointers in the final two minutes to lead Wright State to the win.
Wright State’s Mike La Tulip was proud of his teammate. “When you’re the leading scorer in the nation and you demand as much attention as he does from the opposing team, it’s not easy. I kept telling him that your moment is going to come.”
A tenacious Raider defense in the early going forced CSUB to miss their first seven shots from the floor while committing three turnovers during the game’s first four minutes of action, as a pair of Mike La Tulip treys and a Grant Benzinger free throw made it 7-0 Raiders.
The Roadrunners however, wasted little time catching the Raiders. A Shon Briggs layup made it 10-9 CSUB at the 12:10 mark.
La Tulip was the hot hand for the Raider in the game’s first twenty minutes. He had 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting which included 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, in a tightly-contested first half that saw six lead changes and five tied scores.
The attention that Alstork drew from the Roadrunners helped open up the floor for his other teammates. “I got a couple of open looks in the first half, and that’s all because of him (Alstork),” La Tulip explained.
Alstork capped the first stanza by hitting a three-pointer at the buzzer to send Wright State into the halftime locker room with a 36-32 advantage.
A Steven Davis layup to open the half made it 38-32, and the Raiders held the lead 45-39 just before they went stone-cold from the field.
The Roadrunners held Wright State scoreless over the next ten-plus minutes of play while scoring ten unanswered points to retake the lead 49-45. Mike La Tulip canned a three-pointer to break the drought. A pair of Altork free throws and a basket by Parker Ernsthausen put the Raiders back up 52-49 with 4:50 to play.
With the Raiders still clinging to a 55-53 advantage and less than three minutes left to play, CSUB’s Durham Damiyne and WSU’s Alstork challenged each other to a three-point shooting contest. The pair hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back treys on each of the next four possessions to see the lead change hands four times. Astork’s second three-pointer kept the Raiders on top, this time at 61-59 with 1:29 left.
Two Matt Smith free throws tied the score at 61-all at the 1:16 mark, but Alstork and La Tulip hit 4-of-6 free throws over the next several possessions to go back up 65-61 with 16 seconds to play.
Shon Briggs kept his team alive by nailing a three-pointer with five seconds left to narrow the gap to 65-64. But the Roadrunners were unable to foul on WSU’s inbound play until 0.5 seconds remained. A technical foul was called on the Cal State bench. Alstork sank a pair of free throws and Benzinger added another for the victory.
Alstork led the Raiders with 24 points, which included 15-of-19 from the charity stripe. La Tulip added 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Damiyne Durham was the leading scorer for the Roadrunners with 28.
CSUB won the battle of the boards 46-33.
Cal State Bakersfield entered tonight’s contest with a 3-1 record. Their lone defeat was a 78-66 loss to the #10 Arizona Wildcats.
The Roadrunners returned three starters from last year’s team that finished with a 24-9 record and advanced to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament for the first time in program history, where they fell to eventual Final Four participant Oklahoma 82-68 in the first round played at Oklahoma City. The Roadrunners led several times during the game and trailed by just four points with just over four minutes to play. It was Oklahoma’s closet game in the tournament before losing to Villanova in the Final Four.
Wright State and Cal State Bakersfield met just one time prior to tonight’s encounter. That was in the NCAA Division II Final Four held in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 25, 1983, where the Raiders won 57-50. One day later, head coach Ralph Underhill’s team went on to win the NCAA Division II National Championship with a 92-73 victory over the University of the District of Columbia, who were led by the much-heralded and future NBA player 7’0” center Earl Jones.
Friday’s MABC Classic Game One
Dallas Moore hits a jump shot for North Florida (3-3) in the game’s final seconds to top North Dakota (3-1) by the final score of 76-75.
Game two of The Men Against Breast Cancer Classic will be tomorrow Sat. Nov. 26 against North Dakota at 7:00 pm. Game one of the double-header will pit North Florida against CSU Bakersfield at 4:30 pm.
By Mike Klingshirn
DAYTON, Ohio – Mark Alstork poured in a career-high 39 points on Saturday night against Toledo at the Nutter Center, but it was not enough, as the Wright State Raiders let a late lead slip away to eventually fall to the Rockets 82-78.
Despite the career-high, Alstork found little consolation in his individual accomplishment.
“I’d rather trade it in for winning,” Alstork said. “That doesn’t mean anything in my mind right now. I’m still mad that I missed a layup (down the stretch).”
Wright State trailed for most of the game’s first 15 minutes. They led briefly at 8-7 and 10-9, before falling behind 30-23 with 6:36 left in the first half. That’s when the Raiders went on a 14-0 run over the next three minutes to go up 37-30. The Rockets, however, fought their back to narrow the WSU advantage to 39-38 at the half.
Three Raiders accounted for 37 of their team’s 39 halftime points: Alstork (17), Justin Mitchell (11), and Steven Davis (9).
Wright State once again reverted into playing catch-up, as the Rockets scored the first seven points after coming out of the halftime locker room to go back up 45-39.
The Raiders reclaimed the lead 52-51 on a Parker Ernsthausen jumper with 11:52 left to play. The lead changed hands four times over the next two minutes, before Wright State stretched the margin in their advantage to 67-61, and 72-65 with less than five minutes remaining in the game.
Toledo, who started four seniors, showed their experience down the stretch, as they outscored Wright State 17-6 the rest of the way to claim the victory.
With the score even at 74-all, a pair of Mark Alstork free throws gave WSU the edge, 76-74 with 1:31 left. Toledo’s Jonathan Williams answered with a tough 3-pointer on the next possession to put the Rockets up for good, 77-76 at the 1:07 mark.
Justin Mitchell missed a jump shot and Mark Alstork missed a layup down the stretch, and Toledo made five free throws to seal the Rocket victory by the final score of 82-78.
“Our kids played hard,” Nagy said. “But in just about every statistical category, they beat us. Not by much, but they beat us.”
Three Raiders scored in double figures: Alstork (39), Mitchell (15), and Davis (11). Grant Benzinger led WSU with nine rebounds, while adding eight points.
The Rockets were led in scoring by Jaelan Sanford (23), Jonathan Williams (22), and Steve Taylor Jr. (14).
A big and physical Toledo team won the battle of the boards over the smaller Raiders 35-30.
Wright State finished the game shooting 31-of-63 from the field, but only 4-of-20 from beyond the arc. Toledo hit 52.5-percent from the field.
“To consistently win, you can’t continue to give up 50-percent shooting,” Nagy said. “And that’s what we’ve done, three straight games to start the season. That has to change for us. If you want to be a championship team, you’ve got to get in the low-forties defensively.”
The 39 points scored by Alstork were just six points shy of the all-time school record for most points scored in a game by a Raider. That record was set in December 1992 by Bill Edwards in a 102-74 victory over Morehead State.
With the loss Wright State fall to 5-6 in the all-time series with the Rockets. Prior to tonight, these two teams last met during Brad Brownell’s final season as head coach on December 8, 2010 at Toledo. The Raiders lost that one 66-56.
Rockets head coach Tod Kowalczyk improves his career record to 9-9 against WSU (8-9 with Green Bay).
The Raiders next take on Division-II Ohio Dominican University on Monday November 21. Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm.
After that, Wright State University will host The Men Against Breast Cancer Classic on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. A round-robin double header, featuring four schools, is slated for each day. The Raider opponents will be CSU Bakersfield (Fri. Nov. 25 @ 7 pm), North Dakota (Sat. Nov. 26 @ 7 pm), and North Florida (Sun. Nov. 27 @ 4:30 pm). Game one of each doubleheader, involving the other two schools will begin two hours and thirty minutes before each of the Wright State scheduled tip-offs.
Post Game Audio
By Mike Klingshirn
DAYTON, Ohio – The much anticipated new era of Wright State Raider men’s basketball has finally arrived. It was on public display for the first time since the hiring of new head coach Scott Nagy. Nagy assumed the helm of the Raider program shortly after the dismissal of Billy Donlon,
Donlon, although very popular among many Raider fans, was let go, despite his team going 19-6 over the final twenty-five games to finish last season with a 22-13 record and earn an appearance in the Horizon League championship game.
Nagy was essentially the “Ralph Underhill” of the South Dakota State University program, from which he came. Loved by his fan base, he served as SDSU head coach since 1995 (21 seasons). During his first nine years there, he led a successful NCAA Division II program, going 210-59 and making the post-season eight times. Following a bumpy transition period to Division I, he steadily turned the Jackrabbits into a solid program that earned a CBI, NIT and three NCAA tournament appearances over the past five seasons.
And that brings us to Wednesday night’s exhibition game with the Cedarville Yellow Jackets.
“I was nervous,” Nagy said after the game. “It felt like I was coaching my first game ever. Everything is different, like where the coaches are before the game and our locker room situation. It takes a while, plus I haven’t coached a game in seven months.”
As is typical with most preseason exhibition games, this one was about as vanilla as you can possibly be with motion offense and man-to-man defense.
Wright State jumped out to an early 9-0 lead just two minutes into the game on a pair of treys by Mark Alstork and a layup-plus-one from Justin Mitchell. The Raiders led wire to wire and the final outcome was never in doubt.
The Green & Gold stretched their lead to 32-14 midway through the first half, before heading into the halftime locker room with a comfortable 56-33 edge.
Six Raiders saw a huge bulk of the playing time in the game’s first twenty minutes: Benzinger (19), LaTulip, Alstork and Mark Hughes (15 each), Mitchell (13), and Davis (10). Loudon Love, Parker Ernsthausen and Ryan Custer played five, five, and three minutes respectively.
With the same six Raiders still logging the bulk of the minutes, Cedarville fought their way to within 68-55 midway through the second half, before WSU went on a 10-0 run to stretch their lead back to 78-55, and eventually win by the final score of 88-62.
Senior forward Steven Davis returned to the court for the first time in nearly two years, since suffering an injury in the contest against the Ohio State Buckeyes in December 2014. Davis scored nine points and grabbed four boards in 18 minutes of action.
The crowd pleaser play of the game came with 1:31 left before the half. It was a transition fat break in which Alstork fed Davis with an alley oop pass. Davis grabbed the ball high above the rim with one hand and slammed it. The play made it 54-30 Raiders.
Grant Benzinger grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds, followed by Mitchell (8), Hughes (8), and Alstork (7).
Rebounds were 58-31 in favor of Wright State, with 19 coming on the offensive end of the court.
Three Raiders scored in double figures: Alstork (18), Mitchell (18), and LaTulip (13).
Justin Mitchell was moved into the starting point guard position, while sophomore Mark Hughes assumed his backup role. Mark Alstork was originally penciled-in to start the season at the point guard, but has now moved back to the shooting guard position where he led the Raiders in scoring last season.
Prior to this contest, the Raiders led the all-time series against Cedarville 4-2. Their last encounter kicked-off the 2003-04 regular season on November 25 at the Nutter Center. It resulted in a 68-66 Cedarville victory on a basket by Anthony Delimpo in the game’s final seconds, and ushered-in new head coach Paul Biancardi’s three-year tenure at WSU on a less than optimistic note. Although that final result was exhilarating for the Yellow Jacket faithful, many die-hard Raider fans remember it well and consider the defeat to be one of the low points in WSU program history.
The Raiders open the 2016-17 regular season on the road against Southern Illinois (Fri. Nov. 11, 8:00 pm). Following that contest, they return home to renew their backyard rivalry with the Miami RedHawks on Tuesday November 15. Tipoff is slated for 7:00 pm.
Senior Night Ceremony
Coach and player speeches
Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar