It came two days later than he would have liked — and in much more strenuous fashion than he’d prefer — but Wright State coach Scott Nagy joined an exclusive club by picking up his 500th career win with an 81-74 overtime victory at Cleveland State on Saturday.
Vikings coach Dennis Gates brought Nagy to halftcourt afterward and made an announcement to the crowd about the milestone achievement and then gave him the game ball.
“I told the players — and people have heard me say this a lot — but I haven’t made one shot. I’ve coached a lot of good players and have had great staffs, just like I have now. They’ve recruited good players,” Nagy said on his post-game radio show.
“I give those guys credit, and I give God credit. I have to stay close to him. In things like this (another close game), it’s the only way I can get through it.”
The Raiders, 24-6 overall and 14-3 in the Horizon League, clinched at least a share of the conference crown. It’s the program’s third title in 29 years of league play.
Northern Kentucky (21-8, 13-4) locked up a top-two seed in the conference tourney with a 61-59 victory at Youngstown State on Saturday.
That sets up a Wright State-NKU showdown in Highland Heights, Ky., at 7 p.m. Friday on ESPNU.
Loudon Love had 23 points, Bill Wampler 22, Cole Gentry 16 and Tanner Holden 12.
The Raiders shot 51.9% from the floor, but they still haven’t solved their rebounding woes. After getting hammered by 19 at Youngstown State on Thursday, they lost the battle of the boards, 43-32, giving up 17 offensive rebounds while snaring only four.
“We made enough plays to win. But I’m tired of getting physically whipped, and that’s what’s going on,” Nagy said. “We’re just getting beat up by people, and it’s been going on for the second half of the season.”
Rebounding was an issue during the frantic finish in regulation.
Gentry made one of two free throws for a 66-61 lead at 3:01, but the Raiders, who led by as many as 10 in the second half, didn’t score again until OT, missing three field goal atttempts and committing two turnovers.
Trailing 66-63, the Vikings (10-19, 6-10) missed a 3, snagged the rebound, and tied it on Torrey Patton’s deep 3 with four seconds to go.
Patton, a junior from Trotwood Madison, had another strong game against the hometown Raiders. He scored 21 points again, including 17 after halftime, and had a game-high 11 rebounds.
But the Raiders took charge in OT, spurting to an early four-point lead and holding on.
“When they came over, they were down, and I had to get after them,” Nagy said. “I just told Loudon, ‘Go get this jump ball for us and let’s go get the lead.’”
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.