After scoring almost half of his team’s points, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Cleveland native said: “My team needed a spark, so I gave it.
“I had a chip on my shoulder. We lost the game last time. We said we didn’t want to lose it again.”
In his first return to the area last season, he scored a modest 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting in an 87-74 loss to Wright State.
“My teammates helped me get open, I made some shots, and we won the game. I love them and I appreciate them,” he said.
Coming off a 21-point home shellacking by Robert Morris, the Raiders were trying to avoid their first 0-2 league start in seven years under coach Scott Nagy. The last had been in 2008-09.
But the Penguins (6-3, 1-1) went 53.7% from the floor — the fourth opponent to top 50 this season. Robert Morris shot 52.5, Davidson 52.2 and Louisville 50.8.
The Raiders (5-4, 0-2) lost three of the four and needed a last-second shot to beat Louisville.
“Like I told the team, that’s more my fault,” Nagy said of Cohill’s rampage. “At some point, you’ve got to make some adjustments, and we didn’t early enough.
“If you let good offensive players get going, they can get into that mode where you can’t stop them. Most of that falls me. It just does,” Nagy said.
The 43 points were the second-most points by an HL player this season.
Northern Kentucky’s Marques Warrick had 45 against Tennessee Tech.
The most points by a Raider opponent is 53 by Tommie Johnson of Central Michigan on Dec. 22, 1987.
“I obviously feel much better about the way we played than I did the other night (against Robert Morris) in terms of our competing,” Nagy said. “But in both games, we had two players go off on us. And at some point, that falls on us.”
Robert Morris forward Kahliel Spear, a preseason second-team all-league pick, had 27 points on 12-of-15 shooting.
“In our two league games, we’ve not been very good defensively. That’s what has to change for us,” Nagy said. “And we weren’t very good offensively. When you give up 53%, it’s hard to win. It’s hard to be good enough offensively.”
The Raiders took a 36-32 halftime lead, mostly on the strength of their inside game. Forward Brandon Noel had 14 of his 22 points, and center A.J. Braun eight of his 17, which matched his career high.
The Raiders had a seven-point lead with 16:15 to go, but it all unraveled after that.
“We gave up 43 — it’s hard to stop a guy when he gets going like that and he gets hot,” Noel said. “In the second half, he turned it up, and it was just hard to stop him. This just (stinks).”
Said Braun: “Cohill was just hitting tough shots. We were trying to throw stuff at him. Obviously, it could’ve been better. He hit tough jumpers and 3′s. He got it going, and it was hard to stop.”
Trey Calvin, averaging a team-high 19.3 points, was replaced in the starting lineup by Noel.
A league player of the year candidate, Calvin entered with 15:45 to go in the first half and finished 3-of-10 from the field for seven points with five assists in 29 minutes.
Nagy called the Calvin sitting a coach’s decision. “We’re just trying to get him going.”
That certainly wasn’t a problem for Cohill, whose previous career high was 31.
His day included some questionable antics, which the Raiders probably will remember in the rematch Feb. 2.
When he hit his third 3 in front of the home bench, he held up three fingers, gave them a smooch and flashed the digits at the reserves.
On a breakaway with under 40 seconds left, he threw the ball off the backboard, caught it and dunked.
As he was leaving the court afterward, he was jawing with a section of fans.
Nagy, though, shrugged off the display.
“That’s not my business,” he said. “Are we going to make the game all about that? No.
“Everybody has to answer for himself. I don’t have to answer for how anyone acts. I have to answer for how I act and my players act.”
Wright State at Western Kentucky, 7 p.m., ESPN+, 980