Jerran Young often plays like an all-conference player. The only thing holding him back on some nights is foul trouble.
On Wednesday at Cleveland State, the Wright State junior forward picked up his first foul just 14 seconds into the game. Then coach Billy Donlon had to wince as Young almost picked up another foul seconds later.
On a night when the Raiders were missing Cole Darling and Reggie Arceneaux, two of their best players — arguably their two best players, depending on the night — it’s doubtful the Raiders would have survived with Young on the bench for 19 minutes in the first half and only seven players in the rotation.
It’s a good sign for Wright State and Young’s future that he didn’t foul again in 31 more minutes of action. He finished with 11 points in Wright State’s 50-41 victory over the Vikings at the Wolstein Center.
“The officials allowed the game to be physical on both ends,” Donlon said. “There was a lot of contact on both ends in both halves. Both teams have issues with depth. It probably worked out well for both of us. We were able to play the guys we wanted to play the way we wanted to play them.”
CSU goes cold: The Vikings came into the game with the fifth-best scoring offense in the Horizon League, averaging 65.4 points per game. They hadn’t scored fewer than 50 in a game all season until Wednesday.
Cleveland State shot a season-worst 26 percent from the field. Its previous low percentage was 30 percent against Michigan.
“We just couldn’t get anything going offensively,” said Cleveland State guard Charlie Lee, who had 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting. “We shot the ball terribly. We didn’t do a bad job turning the ball over (nine turnovers). We did everything we needed to do on defense. We just couldn’t execute on offense.”
Good start: The Raiders hadn’t played in eight days, so that added another layer of intrigue to the game. How would they respond after such an unusual layoff so late in the season?
They responded well as it turns out. Wright State jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first two and a half minutes, though Cleveland State missed two free throws and some easy layups during that stretch.
“I was really excited about the start,” Donlon said. “I wanted us to be aggressive offensively, because we’ve had poor starts.”
Injury update: Donlon said he didn’t know if Arceneaux would play at 2 p.m. Saturday against Evansville in the BracketBusters game. He suffered a concussion against Valparaiso and was on the bench Wednesday but not in uniform.
Darling, who injured his foot in practice Sunday, was not at the game. He’s expected to miss at least three games, so the earliest he could return would be the regular-season finale against Youngstown State on March 2 at the Nutter Center.
Around the league: Last-place Milwaukee beat Illinois-Chicago 64-53 on Wednesday. UIC (6-8 Horizon League) is now in sixth place, a game behind Youngstown State (7-7).
Wright State and Green Bay are tied for third at 9-5, though Wright State has the tiebreaker because it swept Green Bay. The third seed is important because it gets a first-round bye straight to the quarterfinals.
Green Bay hosts Milwaukee on Feb. 26 and Valparaiso on March 2 in its last two Horizon League games. Wright State plays at UIC on Tuesday and wraps up the Horizon League schedule against Youngstown.
By the numbers: This was Donlon’s 50th career win. He’s 50-42 in three seasons.
• The Raiders (18-9 overall) are two wins away from their first 20-win season since 2009-10, the last of four straight 20-win seasons.
• Matt Vest led the team with 12 points. It’s his first double-figure game since he had 11 points against VMI on Dec. 8.
Five different players have led Wright State in scoring in the last six games.
• With Darling out, Jerran Young drew the start, his second of the season. Freshman Joe Bramanti started his fourth straight game at point guard.