UIC at Wright State: What you need to know about Thursday’s game

  • Doug Harris
  • Contributing Writer
Dec 27, 2017
WSU’s Jaylon Hall. Wright State defeated host Toledo 77-69 in a men’s college basketball game on Sat., Dec. 16, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Who: UIC (5-8) at Wright State (8-5)

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Nutter Center

TV/Radio: ESPN3/106.5-FM

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Series: Wright State leads, 29-27

Coaches: Scott Nagy is 28-17 in his second season at Wright State and 438-257 in 23 years overall. Steve McClain is 27-52 in his third season at UIC and 184-167 in 12 years overall, including nine at Wyoming.

Probable Wright State starters

Parker Ernsthausen;6-11;Jr.;C;4.3

Justin Mitchell;6-4;Sr.;G;11.5

Mark Hughes;6-4;Jr.;G;9.9

Louden Love;6-9;Fr.;C;9.8

Grant Benzinger;6-3;Sr.;G;14.2

Probable UIC starters

Dikembe Dixson;6-7;0So.;F;14.4

Dominique Matthews;6-2;So.;G;11.9

Tai Odiase;6-9;Sr.;C;8.8

Marcus Ottey;6-2;So.;G;12.0

Jordan Blount;6-8;So.;F;4.3

About UIC: The Flames are 3-8 against Division-I competition but have played a challenging schedule, losing to Kentucky among others. Two of their losses were in overtime to Saint Joseph’s and by one to Illinois State … They were picked to finish third in the Horizon League, two spots ahead of Wright State. … Dixson was a preseason first-team all-league pick, while Odiase made the second team. (The Raiders didn’t have any players on the first or second team). Dixson was limited to 10 starts last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He averaged 20.3 points and 6.0 rebounds. In 2015-16, he was the league freshman of the year. … Odiase was the league’s defensive player of the year last season and was fourth in the nation with 104 blocks. He has 38 in 13 games this season. With Odiase patrolling the lane, opponents are shooting only 41.1 percent this season. … Blount leads the team with 3.0 assists per game.

About Wright State: The Raiders are coming off an 85-81 win at Georgia Tech on Friday for their first road victory (and second triumph overall) against a team from one of the five power conferences. They scored 54 points in the second half, which is more than they amassed in 40 minutes in a 66-50 loss to Missouri State in their previous outing. After going a combined 4-for-25 from the field and 3-for-20 on 3-pointers against Missouri State, Benzinger and Hughes went 9-for-16 from the floor and 5-for-11 on 3’s against Georgia Tech. The Raiders posted their season-high for points and field-goal percentage (51.8) against Division-I competition. They went into the game shooting 30.8 percent from 3-point range but finished 9-for-20. … Love was named the Horizon League freshman of the week for the second time in a row after notching 16 points and 12 rebounds against the Yellow Jackets. He’s first in the Horizon League in rebounding with an 8.5 average, a fraction ahead of Detroit’s Kameron Chatman. The Raiders have claimed four of the seven freshman of the week honors this season with sub forward Everett Winchester also having won twice. … Benzinger has made 35 of 37 free throws this season and is first in the league and seventh nationally with a 94.6 percentage. … Mitchell is second in the league in steals at 1.9 per game.

Coming up: The Raiders host IUPUI at 4 p.m. Saturday. The women’s team will play Milwaukee at 1:30 p.m. in the first game of the doubleheader.