Wright State topped 90 points for the sixth time this season, shot 57.6% from the field, tied their season high in 3-pointers with 12 and had almost as many steals (6) as turnovers (7).
What’s not to like, right?
Well, anyone who’s been around coach Scott Nagy knows the emphasis he puts on defense, and he couldn’t have been happy with the lapses in that phase during a 98-86 win over Detroit on Thursday. The Raiders gave up more than 50 points in the second half for the second straight game, and it was the sixth time they’ve allowed 80 or more points this season.
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But Nagy, mindful of his team’s sparkling 20-5 record and 10-2 mark in the Horizon League, tempered his criticism. For a while, anyway.
“The players feel it after the game. They know the things that bother me,” he said. “I just tried to tell them: ‘We’re 20-5. It’s a hard deal to win this many games, and you guys are doing a great job. When we win and we don’t win exactly the way we want, we’re not going to complain about that.’”
After accentuating the positive for a bit, though, Nagy wanted to make it clear he’s not comfortable riding his team’s potent offense to victory.
The woeful Titans (6-18, 4-7), led by Antoine Davis’ 28 points and nine assists, scored 17 above their average and were within three with just under two minutes to go. But the Raiders finished the game with a 12-3 run.
“I continue to say it: You can’t count on that every game. It’s nice to be able to count on it sometimes. A lot of coaches wish their teams could score like we can score. But still, for me — and some of it’s just stubbornness — that’s not the way I want to win, just trying to out-score people,” Nagy said.
“I would like to do a better job of getting them stopped. And that’s the second game in a row we’ve been whipped on the glass (37-30), which I don’t like.”
Clutch shot: Every Raider touched the ball on the game’s biggest possession, which ended with a Bill Wampler 3-pointer. But the play didn’t unfold the way the coaches drew it up.
Leading just 86-83, Jaylon Hall nearly traveled, then flipped the ball to Loudon Love, who fumbled it while a couple of Titans poked at it.
Love fired a baseline pass that ricocheted off Tanner Holden’s hands into Cole Gentry’s arms. Instead of a taking a 3 from the wing, though, Gentry tossed it to Wampler as the shot-clock was racing toward zeroes.
“I knew I had to shoot it,” Wampler said. “Top-of-the-key 3’s are probably my highest-percentage shot. I’m pretty confident.”
The bucket gave Wampler a team-high 24 points and pushed the lead to six with 1:27 to go.
Milestone: The Raiders have reached 20 wins in each of Nagy’s four seasons and five straight times overall. It may not be as significant as it once was with teams now playing 30-plus games, but it’s still an achievement.
“It’s hard to do,” Nagy said. “Just look around college basketball. Very few teams win 20.”
Backing off: The 98 points were a season high for the Raiders and the sixth time they’ve hit at least 90. But they passed up a chance to go for 100, dribbling out the final 11.3 seconds.
Asked about going for triple-digits, Nagy said: “Are you kidding? That game’s over. We’re not doing that.”
Happy fans: Wright State held a free T-shirt night, and all 4,344 attendees went home with additions to their wardrobe.
The Raiders have averaged a league-high 3,893 fans in 13 home games this season.
Coming up: The Raiders host Oakland at 7 p.m. Saturday. They’re home for two more next week before finishing the regular season with three road games.
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