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.
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).
Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar
By Mike Klingshirn
DAYTON, Ohio – AJ Pacher and Kendall Griffin each led the Wright State Raiders with near double-doubles as their team defeated the Western Carolina Catamounts on Saturday afternoon at the Nutter Center 85-77. Pacher, the leading scorer in the game, had 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Griffin contributed with 11 points, while pulling down eight boards.
Pacher put Wright State on the scoreboard first, two minutes into the game, by hitting a three-pointer. The Raiders went on to lead the contest wire-to-wire, and there were no tied scores.
With the score 9-8, Reggie Arceneaux connected on a shot from beyond the arc to begin an 11-0 Wright State run that stretched their lead to 20-8 at the 9:31 mark. The run was the difference in the half and set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Wright State (5-3) maintained a double-digit lead for much of the contest, with their advantage fluctuating between four and fifteen points throughout.
The Green and Gold did a poor job in offensive transition in the first half. They found themselves on top 35-26 after twenty minutes of play, but could have easily scored another 10 points, missing an opportunity to build an insurmountable lead.
“The great thing about the game is that we won it,” said head coach Billy Donlon. “But there were a lot of teachable moments.”
Western Carolina (5-5) mounted a mild comeback to pull within 40-36. From there, the Raiders went on a 20-9 run, pushing there lead to its largest margin at 60-45 with 9:21 to play. Pacher was the main force during that stretch by scoring ten of his eighteen points with a trey, a layup, a jumper, and three free throws.
The Catamounts closed the gap to seven points on a couple of occasions at 64-57 and 69-62, before Wright State pushed their lead back to 77-66 with 1:36 remaining.
Some sloppy play and turnovers allowed Western Carolina to creep to within 82-77 with 22 seconds to play, but the Raiders held on for the 85-77 victory.
Reggie Arceneaux had a terrific offensive game. He finished with twelve points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field, 2-of-2 from beyond the arc, and 4-of 4 from the foul line. He also had seven assists in 33 minutes of play.
JT Yoho also played a good game. He scored 11 points. Cole Darling (10) was the fifth Raider to score in double figures.
There were 56 personal fouls called in this fouled-plagued encounter. Two Raiders (Pacher and Darling) and a pair of Catamounts (Tawaski King and James Sinclair) fouled out. Wright State was 29-of-38 from the charity stripe, while Western Carolina went 20-of-29.
WSU shot 24-of-49 from the field, including 8-of-16 from beyond the arc. The Catamounts were 24-of-57 from the field.
Announced attendance was 3,008, although it is arguable that there were barely half that many in the house. The numerous fans dressed in scarlet attire, instead of their usual green and gold, were subtle reminders that the tip-off of this contest coincided with the start of the fourth quarter of The Game in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The shouting, heard from the approximately 75 people who remained glued to the television sets in the Fricker’s Above the Rim Alumni Zone, was a not so subtle reminder, as their other team made a game winning interception.
The Raiders are on the road for four games until they return home for a battle against Eastern Illinois on Thursday December 19. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00.
Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar
By Mike Klingshirn
DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders began the Thanksgiving holiday weekend on a winning note by defeating the Alcorn State Braves by the final score of 73-55. The Raiders improve to 4-3 on the season with the victory, while Alcorn State (3-3) remains winless against Division I competition. The game was played in front of a sparse crowd (3,211 tickets out), inside of a quiet, cavernous, and chilly Nutter Center.
After giving up an average of 75.5 points per game against their four previous Division I opponents, it was obvious what the emphasis would be in practice this week for the Raiders. “We had two pretty tough days, going into this game, working on nothing but defense,’ said Wright State’s Cole Darling.
Alcorn State jumped out to an early 5-0 lead … their only lead of the game. The Raiders then proceeded to turn up the defensive effort. They threw a shutout over the next seven-plus minutes to go up 12-5 at the 10:39 mark of the first half.
With WSU leading 30-21 and the first half clock ticking down, it appeared that the Raiders would attempt the final shot of the half. However, Alcorn State’s Anthony Evans picked up a loose ball underneath the Wright State basket, took a few dribbles, and heaved the ball from in front of his team’s bench, 60 feet away, toward the hoop. His shot banked off of the glass and into the basket as the buzzer sounded to incredibly send the Braves into the locker room, down only 30-24.
Wright State appeared to have rested on offense in the game, but head coach Billy Donlon didn’t seem to mind because he was pleased with his team’s defensive effort. “Our offense was not great in the first half,” Donlon said. “If we were guarding the way that we had been guarding in the past, we might have been losing at the half.”
The Raiders applied some stellar defense to begin the first five minutes of the second half. It ignited an 11-0 run to put them comfortably ahead 41-24. The Braves closed the gap to 41-28, but Wright State answered by scoring nine straight points to go up 50-28 with 11:05 to play. WSU were never seriously challenged after that and went on to win 73-55.
Cole Darling led the Raiders with 18 points. Jerran Young (13) and Miles Dixon (11) also scored in double figures for the Green and Gold.
Wright State returns to action at home Saturday November 30 against Western Carolina. Tipp-off is set for 3:00.
Box score: Alcorn Box
Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar
By Mike Reynolds
The Raiders (2-2) rebound from the 72-81 loss to Division I DePaul to rout the Division III Manchester Spartans Monday night 83-33 in front of 3486 fans. The Spartans fall to 0-3 on the season.
Manchester University is a tiny (1400 students) private institution from Indiana. Wright State played Manchester once before defeating them on January 17, 1987 by a score of 93-53 in PE Building.
Little to say about this contest as MU was out-manned and out-played for 40 minutes. The aggressive Raiders led wire-to-wire. Coach Donlon was quite vocal tonight with his players to keep them “in the game” despite the mismatch.
The Raiders were running up and down the court attacking the basket all night which was great to see. Now how about a running game against a Division I opponent?
A strong first half resulted in WSU leading MU 50-17. WSU shot 56% to MU’s 28%. The Raiders forced the Spartans into 13 turnovers while only committing 4.
Wright State continued dominating the Spartans in the second half. MU didn’t score until the 14:49 mark leaving WSU up 60-19. With 6:17 left to play WSU lead 78-24 and the only question is whether the Raiders would score 100.
The Raiders would not break 100 but still win by 50 (largest lead was 58). The Raiders shot 53% to MU’s 25. WSU out-rebounded the Spartans 42-29.
Silas Sims was the only double figures scorer for MU with 12.
WSU dominated in the paint outscoring MU 48-18. The WSU bench got some serious minutes scoring 49 of the 83 points (15 for the Spartan bench).
Next up: Next up for WSU is a road trip to Mobile, Alabama where they will open against Houston Baptist Friday night at 5PM followed by South Alabama Saturday at 2.
Other HL action: Cleveland State (2-1) loses at Eastern Michigan (3-0) 81-69
Box score: Manchester Box Score
Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar
In preparation for the Georgetown University – Wright State men’s basketball game on Wednesday, Andrew from casualhoya.com and I “interviewed” each other. Following Andrew’s lead, we kept it causal …
RRB: Are there any players at all that WSU can ignore as non-factors, any at all? You only two players under 200 lbs?!! How much time will Joshua Smith see (6-10 350lbs)? Seriously, describe the GU roster – athletic, tall, husky, fast, diaper dandies, …
I wouldn’t go as far as suggesting the Hoyas are going to trot out any “non-factors”, but if Wright State wants to leave someone open I would suggest it choose Nate Lubick, Georgetown’s senior power forward. Lubick doesn’t have much of an outside shot to speak of and most of the damage he does will be deep in the post or under the boards. Regarding Smith, I think we all were a bit surprised to see him log 27 minutes against a fast-paced team like Oregon, so I’ll assume you’re going to get 20+ out of him so long as this game is competitive. Note, by the way, that if this game is competitive with about 5 minutes left I am going to light myself on fire. Under John Thompson III Georgetown has morphed from Big Man U to sort of a hybrid Lanky Forward U, as a lot of our guys have good size and are athletic. No diaper dandies to speak of on this year’s squad, though we’re all anxious to see what freshman forward Reggie Cameron can do from the perimeter.
RRB: Any injuries to speak of currently?
Other than the injuries to our collective dignities after dropping an opener for the first time in ages, the team is in fine health and ready to vanquish the Raiders at the Verizon Center.
RRB: How do you think the long trip to South Korea (?) to play Oregon may impact the Hoya’s performance against WSU? Five days and 7000 miles separate the games.
The Hoyas got back to DC on Sunday so they all should be just fine to run up and down the court and shoot baskets against the Raiders. However, should the Raiders pull the upset you are damn right that the long trip to play a gimmick game against Oregon ruined the season.
RRB: How is the beer selection in the Verizon Center? What are a few of the best pubs/taverns in that area?
Actually not bad. You can get anything from a terrible light beer to a nice refreshing Stella throughout Verizon, which is nice because the drinking helps dull the pain. Pro tip is to always double up though because that ‘last call’ for alcohol really sneaks up on you and you want to be able to satiate your thirst straight through the final buzzer. Regarding the best bar in the area, Chinatown outside Verizon is chock full o’ a lot of very similar options. Casual folk will hit the Iron Horse before and after games, while really horrible people will tempt fate and risk life and limb at the local Hooters.
RRB: Georgetown’s fight song is rare among U.S. university fight songs for mentioning other colleges by name. It mentions Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Holy Cross, the Naval Academy, and Cornell. In the event that Wright State defeats Georgetown on Wednesday night, can we expect the fight song to be modified to also mention Wright State?
It’s a great fight song and thank you for noticing. In the event that Wright State defeats Georgetown, don’t worry about the Fight Song, however. You can take the entire school if you’d like because I am convinced it will be burned to the ground by students with their torches. Or at least by the few thousand or so that actually care about the outcome of the game, and by torches I probably mean the Parliament Lights that they will smoke in a combination of angst and a desire to look cool, which is casual.
RRB: So will GU ever return to their original nickname ‘The Stonewalls’ or the Hoya too entrenched?
The Hoya name is too entrenched at this point but a really great student cheering group http://georgetownstonewalls.com/posts/ has taken on the Stonewalls name and has gained international fame and glory by leading various cheers throughout the game and designing soccer-style signs called tifos which are giant-sized and do a nice job in getting the crowd at Verizon jazzed.
RRB: Georgetown plays in the Big East. However several traditional members have recently left the conference such as Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Connecticut. Some Midwestern schools like Butler, Xavier, and Creighton have joined. Will this be a good thing for Georgetown and Big East basketball in the long run?
On one hand I’m excited for the new rivalries to be born with the newcomers Xavier, Creighton and Butler. On the other hand, no matter how you slice it the conference isn’t the same and will likely never get to where it was as the nation’s best hoops conference before realignment took hold. In the long run the Big East and Georgetown will be fine, but it’s never going to be the same as it was. Which sucks.
RRB: You have our permission to beat the living &^%$ out of the Butler Bulldogs both games.
And we fully plan on doing just that, kind sir.
RRB: Final score prediction?
Everything I hear about Wright State is that it’s a Tourney-team, so that instills a great fear in me. How about Hoyas 67 – Raiders 54, in a game that will probably be too close for comfort throughout.
By Mike Klingshirn
DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders opened the season with a resounding 82-49 victory over the Division III Mount St. Joseph Lions, in a game, that in the end, turned out to be little more than a glorified scrimmage.
AJ Pacher led the way with 21 first half points on 9-of-9 shooting from the field, which included a 3-pointer, and 2-of-2 from the free throw line. Jerran Young recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. JT Yoho (17) and Steven Davis (10) were the other two Raiders to score in double figures.
This game, which was only an exhibition for the Lions, counted as part of the regular season record for Wright State. However, because MSJ is not an NCAA Division I program, the contest’s result will not factor into WSU’s RPI rating.
It was important for Wright State to make a statement with a dominating performance because they return the majority of members from a squad which finished last season with a 23-13 record and a CBI Final Four appearance. A loss or difficult battle would have been deflating and embarrassing, especially coupled with the defeat that Division II Findlay administered to them in their only exhibition contest.
Last year, when these two teams met, the Raiders struggled mightily, trailing most of the game, before finally pulling out an uninspiring 58-49 victory, against a D III Lions team which finished the season with a 9-17 record.
This year, however, was different. Wright State easily handled MSJ in a contest that was never in doubt. The Raiders scored the game’s first six points, led wire-to-wire, and the Lions never drew closer than five points (8-3 and 16-11).
Pacher scored 17 of his team’s first 24 points, as Wright State built a 24-11 advantage with 8:56 left in the half. They stretched their lead to 43-24 by the intermission.
Mount St. Joseph came out of the locker room to make a mild challenge by narrowing the margin to 46-32 with 17:22 left to play, but that is as close as they would get. From there, Wright State went on a 13-4 run to go up 59-36, before winning by a final score of 82-49.
Miles Dixon, whose playing status was questionable for the season because of a torn labrum, was in the starting line up. He played 22 minutes and scored six points. Cole Darling (ankle) and Reggie Arceneaux (hamstring), who are normally in the starting line up, did not play. Arceneaux is expected to be back in action for the Raiders’ next game. Darling is questionable.
“I thought that he (Dixon) looked really good,” Donlon said. “He didn’t play timid. I was a little nervous on the break away with the intentional (foul) — the flagrant one –but it was great to have him out there.”
Wright State outscored MSJ 44-12 in the paint and 32-7 off of turnovers. The Raiders also won the battle of the boards 35-21. They hit 30-of-53 shots from the field for 56 percent, including 6-of-15 from beyond the arc. The Raiders went 16-of-20 from the charity stripe, while MSJ hit their one and only free throw attempt for the game.
The Raiders hit the road to take on the Georgetown Hoyas (Wed. Nov. 13, Fox Sports 1) and the DePaul Blue Demons (Sat. Nov. 16). Wright State returns home on Monday November 18 for a battle against another D III opponent in Manchester University.
Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar
This audio interview is provided courtesy of Chris Collins. It played during halftime of the Findlay game. Some good stuff about the Matt’s health & status, the team, new players, and season preview.
By Mike Klingshirn
DAYTON, Ohio – Did we just see that? That’s the question many Wright State Raider fans were asking after they witnessed their team – a preseason Horizon League favorite – fall to the Division II Findlay Oilers in exhibition play Friday night at the Nutter Center by the final score of 80-76.
If it is of any consolation to Raider fans, Findlay also beat the Ohio State Buckeyes by two points in an exhibition game in November of 2007.
Although tonight’s contest was scheduled as an exhibition game to serve as a tune-up in preparation for the regular season, it is arguable that Findlay may be one of the more formidable foes that will enter the Nutter Center between now and when league play begins in two months.
Findlay, who finished 22-8 last year, is ranked ninth in the NCAA Division II Bulletin Preseason poll. The Oilers have the second best winning percentage in NCAA Division II competition since the year 2000, having compiled a record of 332-73 for a winning percentage of .820. The Oilers have appeared in 11 out of the last 12 NCAA Division II National Tournaments, and captured their first NCAA Division II National Championship in the 2008-09 season.
Findlay used a balanced scoring attack and an outstanding all-around effort to surprise the Raiders. Four Oilers scored in double figures. Greg Kahlig, Findlay’s preseason All-American from Fort Recovery, Ohio, and Alphonso Baity led the way with 20 points apiece. Jake Heagen added 17, while Dylan Kaufman chipped in with 11.
It was obvious from the beginning that this would not be your typical preseason beat down, which is usually handed out by the home team in exhibition seasons. After Wright State score five straight points to take an early 11-7 advantage, Findlay countered to go on top 15-13 with 12:48 left in the half. It was a lead that they held for the next 26 minutes and did not relinquish until seven minutes remained in the game.
The Oilers stretched their lead to as many as eight points in the first half (41-33), before heading into the locker room ahead at 42-37.
The Raiders were guilty of a ton of defense lapses throughout the night. In the first half it was because they were too passive. In the second half, it was because Wright State realized that they were in a dogfight. They reacted by becoming overly aggressive, which resulted in defensive lapses of a different kind.
Findlay again led by eight at 47-39, before the Raiders whittled the Oiler advantage to 51-50 at the 12:07 mark. The Green and Gold finally recaptured the lead 60-58 on a pair of Mark Vest free throws.
A jumper and layup by JT Yoho made it 64-60 in favor of the Raiders, and they appeared to be in command with 5:20 left to play. But that’s when Findlay hit back with some real grit, hustle, and determination. A Heagan jumper ignited a 13-0 Findlay run that put them on top to stay at 73-64 with less than three minutesto go.
A pair of WSU free throws by Steven Davis cut the deficit to 79-76 with ten ticks left on the clock. However, a Greg Kahlig free throw iced things for Findlay, sending Wright State to a disappointing 80-76 defeat.
The loss served as a dose of reality to Wright State, who many consider to be one of the top teams – if not the top team – in the Horizon League.
“It’s not about talent,” WSU senior AJ Pacher said after the game. “Last year’s team had a will to win every single night. We wanted to win more than every single team that we played, and that’s the way that we’re going to win this year.”
“That wasn’t Wright State defense out there tonight,” added sophomore JT Yoho. “We gave up 80 points tonight. That’s definitely got to improve. Our average last year was 20 points lower than that.”
- JT Yoho recorded a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
- AJ Pacher scored 14 first half points.
- WSU freshman guard Mark Howell hit some big shots, especially in the second half. He scored 13 points, hitting 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, and did not commit a turnover in 30 minutes of play.
- The food in the media room before the game was outstanding … so good that I almost left a tip.
- Findlay shot 25-of-45 (55.6%) from the field for the game. Of those 20 missed shots, they grabbed the offensive rebound on nine of them.
- Findlay out-rebounded Wright State 39-33
- Findlay outscored WSU in the paint 26-24.
- Cole Darling left the game and did not return after an apparent leg or ankle injury with 4:02 left to play.Coach Donlon was unsure about the severity of the injury.
- Miles Dixon’s playing status is questionable for the season. He has a torn labrum in his shooting shoulder.
Prior to this contest, the Raiders and Oilers had met twice with Findlay winning both times. The teams first met during the regular season of 1970-71 when Findlay came away with an 87-67 victory. The Oilersedged Wright State 72-69 in 1986-87.
The Raiders open their regular season at home on Sunday November 10 against Division-III Mount St. Joseph. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:00.
Photos © and Courtesy of Tim G. Zechar