Raiders look to stop skid in Detroit

“It’s a tough grind for us right now,” said coach Billy Donlon, whose Raiders (10-10, 2-4 Horizon League) have lost three in a row and six of their last eight and have three of their next four games against three of the top four teams in the league.

“My job is to see if we’re making strides,” Donlon added. “With young people, you can’t make it all about the scoreboard. It really is about the process. It’s about the process of improving, and for the most part I think we’ve done that. I think we’ve done some really positive things, but that hasn’t really reflected recently in terms of wins and losses. But as long as they work and have a toughness and compete, I think they’ll get rewarded on that side of things.”

WSU will try to end its skid against Detroit (10-11, 3-3 HL), a team that pulled itself out of a similar rut to win four of its last six games since dropping a 70-57 decision at the Nutter Center on Jan. 2.

Adding to the confidence that comes from facing a team the Raiders have already beat will be the expected return of Kendall Griffin. The senior guard left Tuesday’s loss in Milwaukee after just two minutes when he hit the back of his head on a chair while diving for a ball.

“Kendall will be available, so that’s really good news,” Donlon said.

But the status of Steven Davis remains up in the air. The sophomore forward has missed the last six games with a foot injury.

“Steven is trying every day,” Donlon said. “There’s nobody in more pain about not playing that Steven Davis. I feel bad for Steven because he was the one guy who played well against Ohio State, and I really thought he was turning the corner.”

Donlon is hoping the team can make a similar turn as it heads into a brutal stretch that continues Wednesday at Oakland, followed by back-to-back contests against league co-leaders Wisconsin-Green Bay and Cleveland State.

“It’s important for me as their coach, as the guy they look to, that make them understand that by no means is our year over because we’re 2-4 in our league,” he said. “There’s still a ton of basketball left to be played. And there’s a ton of improving to be made.”

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