Six days after whacking his head on a chair at Wisconsin-Milwaukee and wondering if he would ever get a chance to play again, Wright State senior guard Kendall Griffin responded with a career-high 20 points Monday night in a 64-53 win at Detroit.
“It was pretty scary,” said Griffin, who saw his junior season end early due to concussions and then missed 14 games this year after suffering another one in the opener against Belmont.
Griffin didn’t return to practice until Saturday, and even then he only did some light non-contract drills. But he hit seemingly everything Monday night, beginning with a 3-pointer for the first points of the game.
While the close call in Milwaukee, which came just two minutes into the game, gave him a fright, Griffin said he hasn’t changed his approach to the game as his career winds down.
“I’m just a realist,” he said. “When it’s over, it’s over. I mean it’s been my passion for my whole life, but I know it’s got to end at some time.”
Still, a career-high 20 had to be special after the close call in Milwuakee.
“Oh yeah, don’t get me wrong,” he said. “It does feel good.”
Starter switch: Wright State coach Billy Donlon switched things up a little as freshman guard Justin Mitchell made his fourth start of the season and third in the last seven games.
“Go back to Game 1 (against Detroit) and he started, and you saw how well he did.” WSU coach Billy Donlon said, referring to the Jan. 2 game in which Mitchell had nine points in 34 minutes in a 70-57 victory.
But that was only part of the decision.
“I felt like we needed to bring a guy off the bench that has experience, a really productive guy like Reggie Arceneaux,” Donlon said. “It was more of that than the Detroit matchup itself.”
Mitchell had two points in 11 minutes. Arceneaux had three points, three rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes.
Special guest: There was a familiar face sitting in the small patch of Wright State supporters Monday night at Calihan Hall.
Former WSU player Thomas Hope, who is 12th on the school’s career rebounding list, made the three-hour drive from his home in Waterloo, Ontario to watch his first Raiders game in person since the 2007 NCAA tournament opener against Pittsburgh in Buffalo, N.Y.
Hope had 557 rebounds in 113 games for WSU from 1999-2003.
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