Raiders fall at home to Vikings as title hopes dim

Wright State's Tanner Holden goes in for a dunk during the second half against Cleveland State at the Nutter Center on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

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Wright State's Tanner Holden goes in for a dunk during the second half against Cleveland State at the Nutter Center on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

Trotwood-Madison grad Patton leads Cleveland State with game-high 25 points

FAIRBORN — Wright State finally shook free from its habit of starting slowly against Horizon League foes Friday.

In a virtual must-win game against Cleveland State, though, sustaining that momentum turned out to be the problem.

The Raiders bolted to leads of 11-0 and 16-3 before a lively crowd of 5,328. And two of their best players — point guard Trey Calvin and wing Tanner Holden — were at the top of their games.

But Trotwood-Madison grad Torrey Patton scored a game-high 25 points, and the athletic Vikings forced 26 turnovers and pulled down 16 offensive rebounds in a 71-67 win to sweep the season series.

The Raiders are 11-10 overall and 8-4 in the HL, while Cleveland State is 14-4, 10-1. Oakland is 15-5, 8-1 going into a home game Saturday with UIC.

“Honestly, if you look at 26 turnovers and 16 offensive rebounds, how were we even in the game? It’s a miracle,” coach Scott Nagy said.

“It’s been a struggle of ours — when we’ve needed to make plays, when there’s been loose balls, we just haven’t gotten them. It’s been the same thing all year, and it was that way tonight. When the game got tight, they got them, and we didn’t.”

Holden, who leads the nation in foul shots made, went 10 of 14 on his way to 24 points. Calvin, flashing a well-developed mid-range game, scored 21.

But 6-foot-9 post Grant Basile, averaging 17.5 points, didn’t score until the last four minutes and finished with a season-low five points.

Only three other Raiders scored, all of them held to six points or fewer.

“Teams are making it more difficult for us to throw the ball inside,” Nagy said. “In a game like this, we need all those guys to show up and make plays.”

He added: “They’re a good team, very experienced. ... They’re older. They’re men, for sure. But I can’t remember the last time I had a team with 26 turnovers. That’s 26 times you don’t get a shot. And you lose by four points?”

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Cleveland State's Torey Patton drives against Wright State's Tim Finke during the Vikings' 71-67 victory over Wright State on Friday at the Nutter Center. Patton scored a game-high 25 points and made four steals. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

Cleveland State's Torey Patton drives against Wright State's Tim Finke during the Vikings' 71-67 victory over Wright State on Friday at the Nutter Center. Patton scored a game-high 25 points and made four steals. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

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Cleveland State's Torey Patton drives against Wright State's Tim Finke during the Vikings' 71-67 victory over Wright State on Friday at the Nutter Center. Patton scored a game-high 25 points and made four steals. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

Despite those shortcomings, the Raiders showed some pluck at the end.

CSU’s Tre Gomillion made a layup for a 61-52 lead with 4:09 to go. But after Basile converted a three-point play, Nagy went to a full-court press, and it worked.

Calvin made a steal and drove for a bucket.

Basile swiped the ball and passed to Holden, who tallied two more.

After the teams traded baskets, Basile scored on a goal-tended basket to make it 63-all with 2:10 left.

“That’s a credit to Wright State,” Patton said. “They’re a well-coached team. A very good team. We knew they’d be hungry since the last game we played them, we beat them (an 85-75 home win Dec. 4). We knew they’d come back strong.”

Patton missed a 3, but the Vikings snagged an offensive rebound and dished back to Patton. The cagey 6-5 star dipped into the lane and scored while being fouled by Basile, converting the three-point play.

After a Tim Finke turnover, D’Moi Hodge gave the Vikings all the points they’d need with a layup at 1:04 for a 68-63 lead.

The Raiders scored 24 points in first 10:39 and 33 the rest of the game.

“I wasn’t panicking,” Patton said. “We go through a lot of close games as a team. Our coach always preaches to us, ‘Don’t blink.’ We always try to focus on the moment and be locked in. We weren’t too worried.”

Patton, who is taking a fifth year of eligibility under the NCAA’s COVID-19 rules, basked in the victory afterward in the Nutter Center stands surrounded by about two dozen relatives.

“I’ve got a lot of family here, as you can see. I wanted to come out and put on a show for them,” he said.

“It always feels good to get back home and play in front of your loved ones. This was a fun night for me, and I enjoyed every second of it.”

SUNDAY’S GAME

Purdue Fort Wayne at Wright State, Noon, ESPN+, 980

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