Raiders roll again, blast Flames on the road

Wright State's Tanner Holden. Joseph Craven/Wright State Athletics

caption arrowCaption
Wright State's Tanner Holden. Joseph Craven/Wright State Athletics

Holden erupts for career-high 38 points to lead Wright State

Wright State coach Scott Nagy may have issues at times with the way his team plays defense, frustrated opponents are scoring with such ease. But you won’t hear him complaining much about the offense.

The Raiders made 39 of 69 shots (56.5%), muscled their way to a 40-29 rebound edge and dished out 20 assists in beating UIC, 97-81, on the road Saturday night.

Junior wing Tanner Holden scored 38 points, blowing past his previous career high of 27. He went 14 of 24 from the field and 10 of 11 on foul shots.

That’s the second-highest output in the Horizon League this season, just short of the 39 scored by Detroit Mercy’s Antoine Davis.

The Raiders (11-8, 8-2) also went 5 of 11 on 3′s and made 14 of 17 free throws while notching their ninth win in the last 10 games.

“Our kids were just sharp tonight offensively,” Nagy said on his postgame radio show. “We had a good idea of what we wanted to do. We went inside a lot. We got to the rim a lot … You’re going to win most games when you shoot 56%.”

Trey Calvin, in his second game back after a COVID-19 absence, had 23 points.

Grant Basile had 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Tim Finke had 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists, and AJ. Braun chipped in 10 points.

The Flames (7-10, 3-5) trailed by six at halftime but managed to get to within one early in the second half. The Raiders, though, pulled away after that to hike their road record above .500 for the first time this season at 5-4.

“Offensively right now we’re in a pretty good spot, let’s face it. But (defensive woes) are going to catch up with us. We’re getting ready to see some zone, so that’s going to slow us down a little bit. We’d better be better defensively.”

The Flames hit three 3′s in the first four minutes to take a 14-9 edge. But the Raiders took the lead for good on a 3 by Finke that made it 31-29 with 6:49 to go.

They made 21 of 36 field goals in the first half (58.3%) — going 3 of 4 on 3′s and 7 of 7 on foul shots — to build a 52-46 lead at the break. The Flames went 18 of 35 (51.4%).

“I was so frustrated at the half. We’re shooting 58% and we’re only up six. I’m thrilled we’re playing well offensively, but that’s got to bother us more. I still have high frustration. There may be some things I need to change,” Nagy said.

The Raiders’ 97 points are a season high and the most since a 100-72 win over IUPUI on Jan. 23, 2021.

They also had their most points in a half since also scoring 52 in the second half in a 92-82 win over Milwaukee on Feb. 13, 2021. Their previous season high was 48 against Green Bay and Long Beach State.


Wright State at Northern Kentucky, 7 p.m., ESPN+, 980

About the Author