Late 3-pointer helps sink Wright State

Credit: David A. Moodie

Credit: David A. Moodie

FAIRBORN — Neither team could gain control throughout the game, and it came down to one decisive shot for each side.

Oakland’s Rocket Watts hit a corner 3 with 12 seconds left for a two-point lead, and Wright State’s Amari Davis had an eight-footer in the lane hit the back of the rim and fall into opposing hands.

The Grizzlies pulled out a 75-73 victory before 3,104 fans Sunday, sending the Raiders to their third home Horizon League defeat this season.

They had three in coach Scott Nagy’s first year in 2016-17 but only a combined six in the five seasons after that.

“They played with the kind of heart we want,” Nagy said of his players, “and I have to tell them that when we don’t win. That’s how I felt.

“I really do feel like we’ve got our kids’ hearts. I don’t know what that will lead to. But we love our kids, and games like this really hurt, but there’s a lot of basketball yet to play.”

Redshirt freshman forward Brandon Noel had 14 points and 15 rebounds for his third straight double-double and fifth of the year. Sophomore center A.J. Braun had 15 points and nine boards.

Davis had 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting and had given the Raiders a 73-72 lead with 33 seconds left on a mid-range jumper.

After Watts, who was shooting just 28.6% from 3, connected on his trey, Nagy called timeout to set up a potential game-winner.

Trey Calvin, who was freqently double-teamed and held to eight points, and Davis were options 1 and 1A.

“Against their zone, it’s not like you can really draw something up,” Nagy said. “You have to have guys who can have the ball in their hands and go make a play.”

Davis can certainly do that.

“Usually, Trey is our go-to guy. We were going to either look for him at the end or give it to me — get a head of steam and get to the rim and make a play. Unfortunately, I didn’t hit that shot,” the senior guard said.

“I tried to create some contact. I thought (the defender) didn’t give me a chance to come down, but I can’t blame refs. It felt good leaving my hand.”

The Raiders, who fell to 9-8 overall and 2-4 in the league, have been among the national leaders in field-goal shooting all season, but they’ve allowed opponents to connect at a high clip, too.

Oakland — led by all-league guard Jalen Moore’s 20 points, five assists and zero turnovers — shot 52.9% in the first half and 50.0 overall.

The Raiders’ three previous foes also fared well: Miami hit 49.1%, IUPUI 47.3 and Detroit Mercy 44.6 after shooting 52.6 in the first half.

Four other teams have topped 50%, and foes are shooting nearly 45% this season.

“It’s a big problem. But one thing we’ve gotten better at is (defense in) the second half,” Nagy said. “Even though I don’t like where it is, it’s moving in the right direction for us.”


Wright State at Green Bay, 8 p.m., ESPN+, 980

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