Nothing bothers Wright State coach Scott Nagy more in a game than losing the rebounding battle. He calls it a “heart stat” because he believes it’s more a question of desire than talent.
Next to that probably would be a high turnover rate, which is indicative of carelessness.
Coming off their most lopsided loss of the season at Detroit, the Raiders picked up the intensity around the rim and were locked in mentally while coasting to an 89-73 win at Oakland on Saturday.
They had a 38-29 rebounding edge, pulling down 16 on the offensive end, and finished with just nine turnovers in notching their first road win in eight games away from the Nutter Center.
The Raiders (8-9 overall and 2-2 in the Horizon League) were voted the preseason conference favorites and, for the first time in weeks, they looked like it.
“Kampe even said after the game, ‘You guys played like champions today,’” Nagy said on his post-game radio show, referring to Oakland coach Greg Kampe. “We’ve had a tough schedule, and I do think it kind of sucked the confidence out of us. I told our guys at halftime, ‘If you really saw yourselves as the best team, which I believe you are, you’d be up 20 instead of 11. You have to start acting like it.’
“Acting like it doesn’t mean you do knuckleheaded stuff. It just means playing like it. We’re getting back to that. This was big, our first road win. It’ll be a fun bus ride home.”
Loudon Love had 19 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high four steals in 25 minutes. Cole Gentry went four of six on 3-pointers while finishing with 20 points. Bill Wampler chipped in 19 and Mark Hughes 17.
“The goal was to throw it in, throw it in, throw it in,” Nagy said. “Loudon wasn’t shooting a great percentage (finishing 7 of 18), but it just really establishes the way you want to play. You want to be more physical. It felt like in first half, we got every loose ball.”
Wright State is in decent shape in the conference despite erratic results so far. Northern Kentucky handed Detroit its first league loss Saturday, leaving Green Bay as the lone unbeaten team at 3-0.
Trailing 40-29 at halftime, the Grizzlies (7-10, 3-1) scored the first basket of the second half, but the Raiders went on an 11-2 run for a 51-33 edge with 15:48 left.
They went 11 of 24 on 3’s after going 4 of 22 in a 21-point loss at Detroit two days earlier. They also cut their turnovers in half after committing a season-high 18 against the Titans.
“We haven’t been able to put good stuff together. We’d get a win and then a loss. This is one of the toughest places to play in the league by far. To get a win here is a great testament to our guys,” Nagy said.