Balanced Wright State puts Bowling Green away with strong second half

Credit: David A. Moodie

Credit: David A. Moodie

FAIRBORN — Before they took questions after Wright State’s 80-71 win over Bowling Green on Tuesday, Amari Davis pored over the stat sheet and then said to teammate Brandon Noel with a laugh: “I almost fouled out.”

Noel looked at Davis and replied with a smile: “I already did this year, so you’re good.”

Yes, those two have tended to be little hack happy. But even if the Raiders had lost both to fouls, they probably would have kept rolling without a hitch.

That’s the quandary opponents face. Coach Scott Nagy went nine deep into his roster against the Falcons, playing all nine double-figure minutes, and each of them scored.

Many impacted the game in other ways, too.

Davis, a senior, tallied his most points as a Raider with 19 and had seven rebounds.

Senior Trey Calvin had 15 points and tied his career-high with eight assists.

Bandon Noel, a promising redshirt freshman forward, had a double-double (the first of probably many in his caerer) with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

And sophomore A.J. Braun had 10 points and two blocks, while senior Tim Finke had seven points, eight rebounds and four assists, and soph Keaton Norris had three steals and three assists.

The backups produced 25 points themselves.

“You can put anybody from our team on the court, and they’re going to do well,” Davis said. “Everybody plays hard and plays together and plays for each other.”

Noel added: “Look at our bench numbers. We’ve got guys — Alex (Huibregtse), Andrew (Welage) and Blake (Sisley) — who are doing well and supporting our starters.

“When you’ve got a team like that, playing well together, we’re going to be a tough team this year for sure.”

Nagy wasn’t so sure at the start of the second half. The Raiders (2-1) led by as many as 10 in the first half, but the Falcons (2-1) took their first lead at 37-36 with 18:02 left.

BG scored 12 points in the first 2:28 after halftime.

“We couldn’t stop them. The only thing that saved us was they couldn’t stop us,” Nagy said.

The seventh-year coach admitted he had trouble managing himself much of the night. The players botched some early plays after timeouts, and Nagy said he couldn’t shake his frustration.

He wasn’t much better at practice Monday. His team was coming off an upset of Louisville, but they hardly played a perfect game, and he made sure they knew it.

“It’s a lot my personality — I see things that need to be fixed and not the things that are right. Fortunately, I have assistants that balance me out, and it takes all five of them to do it.”

After admonishing them at practice, he said: “I saw them walk away (dejected), and I said, ‘Hey, I know I’m talking as if we lost at Louisville, and I apologize for that. But I’m trying to get some things straightened out because I think we can be a pretty dang good basketball team.’ I like this team. And I love the kids.”

After BG took a brief one-point lead, Calvin assisted Braun on a bucket and swished a 3. And the Raiders were out of trouble.

“I thought the players did a good job despite me,” Nagy said.

CURTIS SIGHTING: The well-traveled Samari Curtis, now a senior guard at Bowling Green, had 15 points in 35 minutes. He went 5 of 15 from the field and 5 of 5 on foul shots.

The former Ohio Mr. Basketball who averaged 33.8 points for Xenia High School, first committed as a junior to Xavier but reopened his recruitment when coach Chris Mack left for Louisville.

He then signed with Cincinnati, but he was released from his letter-of-intent when coach Mick Cronin left for UCLA.

He played just eight games as a freshman at Nebraska, then spent his sophomore season at Evansville (averaging 10.1 points) before landing at BG (averaging 9.3 last year and 13.0 this season).

CONTROLLED CALVIN: Even though he came in averaging 27 points, the Raiders’ point guard isn’t one to hunt shots for himself.

He fired just 12 times, hitting seven. “And he’s as happy as anyone (in the locker room),” Nagy said.

“It’s not realistic that he’s going to average 27 points a game. I don’t need him thinking that way, and neither does anyone else on our team.

“Every ball screen, they came out and trapped him, and he passed it. That’s what we need him to do. He’s our point guard. Yeah, 7 for 12 and 15 points and eight assists is a pretty good game.”

THURSDAY’S GAME

Defiance College at Wright State, 7 p.m., ESPN+, 980

About the Author