Raiders put Nagy’s concerns to rest in rout of Vikings

Wright State players and fans may have had to battle some jitters for the showdown with Northern Kentucky last week. But coach Scott Nagy was as calm as he would be sitting at church.

Not that he doesn’t get nervous. But his anxiety meter goes up against lesser foes — like Cleveland State.

The Vikings trudged into the Nutter Center on Thursday with the worst record in the Horizon League and an 0-12 mark on the road. And the results were predictable — a lackluster first half and domination when it mattered for an 87-61 win before 4,655 spectators.

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“You don’t have to work hard to get our kids ready for the Northern Kentucky game because we knew what was on the line. I knew way ahead of time — I looked at the schedule — that this one would be a tough game to get our kids ready for,” Nagy said.

“In the Northern Kentucky game, you don’t have to be intentional about getting ready. It’s just going to happen. This game, you have to be intentional because the energy’s low. You can feel it in the crowd.

“It’s just human nature. That’s what we’re battling. And I thought our kids really did a good job with that.”

Bill Wampler had 16 points to lead five players in double figures. Parker Ernsthausen had a season-high 14 points, Loudon Love and Alan Vest 13 each and Malachi Smith 11 for the Raiders, who have won nine of their last 10 games. They’re 17-11 overall and tied for first in the Horizon League at 11-4.

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Trailing by just five at halftime, the Vikings (8-21, 3-13) had a scoring drought that started with 15:55 left and lasted just over six minutes. A 52-46 deficit ballooned to 61-46 as they missed seven straight shots.

“In the second half, we guarded. We held them to 30 percent (shooting). That’s what won the game,” Nagy said.

Heating up: The Raiders are becoming a potent offensive team. They've shot 50 percent in back-to-back games for the first time this season: 52.5 against Cleveland State and 54.7 in the 81-77 win against NKU.

They went 11 for 21 on 3-pointers — only the third time this season they’ve hit better than 50 percent and the first time since facing SMU on Nov. 21.

“If I could go 11 for 21 every game, I’d take it,” Nagy said.

Free throw watch: Cole Gentry's pursuit of the school record for free-throw percentage likely ended when he went a shocking 2 for 5 against Northern Kentucky (he had missed only four of his first 76 foul shots). But he's still among the NCAA leaders this season, though he didn't attempt any against CSU.

He went into the game third in the nation at 91.4 percent. Nicholls State’s Gavin Peppers is first at 92.8.

Miscellaneous: The Raiders started the game with three straight turnovers but finished with only eight. … Former Dayton player Edwin Young was one of the officials. He played at the Nutter Center as a freshman for the Flyers when they beat the Raiders, 72-63, on Jan. 9, 1997. … After holding the ball for the last shot of the first half, Wampler hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer. They shot 57.1 percent in the first half, the Vikings 51.9.

Get well wishes: The Raiders chose to honor Provost Sue Edwards as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She was recently diagnosed with the disease, and they wore pink shooting shirts with "Edwards" on the back during warmups and on the bench.

Coming up: The Raiders conclude the regular season with road games against Green Bay at 8 p.m. Thursday and Milwaukee at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 1. They'll still have one more home game in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, which starts March 5-6.


Youngstown State at Wright State, 3 p.m., ESPN+, 106.5-FM

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