Wright State has seen a direct correlation between mounting losses and a plummeting offense over the last month.
Injuries to leading scorer JT Yoho and Kendall Griffin have left the Raiders searching for secondary scoring options outside of center Michael Karena, and thus far no one has provided consistent production.
Joe Thomasson is the second-leading scorer on the team at 10 points per game, but he’s been in double figures once in the last eight contests. Reggie Arceneaux (7.5) has hit the mark twice in the previous 11 games. And while Chrishawn Hopkins (8.9) has reached double figures two games in a row, he also failed to score in 25 minutes at Milwuakee and registered three points in 30 minutes against the same Cleveland State team WSU will face this afternoon at the Wolstein Center.
“Joe, Reggie and Hop have got to score for us to win,” Raiders coach Billy Donlon said. “If three of those four guys — the three guards and (Karena) — can be productive and get in double figures, we’re going to be right there.”
Karena has emerged as the top scorer since Yoho went down with a knee injury in the 55-50 loss to Cleveland State on Jan 14, averaging 11.7 ppg. But the Raiders have yet to score more than 70 points in a non-overtime game since Dec. 11.
And they’re averaging 57.5 ppg over the last six games, dropping their average to a Horizon League-worst 60.0 in conference play.
“We’ve changed our offense some and gone to more off-ball screening stuff to help guys like (Grant) Benzinger and Grant Evans and Joe and Hop and Reggie to get some more open looks that way,” Donlon said. “We’re throwing a lot of things against the wall and trying to figure out what’s going to stick in a lot of areas.”
The ability to score will be especially important today against a Vikings, who are in a three-way tie for first place and have a history of frustrating WSU; the Raiders are averaging 56.8 points in their last nine games against CSU.
“It’s a grind for us right now,” Donon said. “You walk a fine line where you don’t want them to feel like they’re coming out for a death march at practice every day. But the intensity level and things you have to have, you don’t normally get that by feeding them ice cream and cake. There are some things we’ve got to figure out and plug some holes with some game-planning and also with some player improvement, just like any other team.”
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