FAIRBORN — Wright State had a slew of wasted possessions in the three games before playing first-place Milwaukee last week, committing a ghastly 19, 17 and 17 turnovers while losing twice and barely squeaking by in the third outing.
And though they knew they had to shore up their ball-handling or put themselves at risk of another thrashing, it didn’t help.
They had a season-high 21 turnovers against the Panthers.
“We did WORSE with the ball, which isn’t a good sign,” redshirt sophomore guard Alex Huibregtse said. “As long as we’re competing on defense, we can make up for that stuff. But it’s definitely an issue we need to figure out with this team.”
They did manage to pull out a 93-86 victory only because they equaled their most 3′s in two years with 10 and forced Milwaukee into 19 turnovers.
But as junior guard Andrew Welage said: “You don’t win a whole lot of games with 21 turnovers, honestly.”
That’s exactly what coach Scott Nagy has been harping on for the last few weeks, and his patience is waning.
“We’re so erratic. We have skilled players, and we should not be turning the ball over this much,” he said.
The Raiders’ 21 turnovers were tied for their second-most in seven years under Nagy.
They had 26 in a 71-67 loss to Cleveland State two years ago and 21 in an 81-62 loss to Oakland in 2016-17.
“Think of all the points you’re giving up (through fewer field-goal attempts). With 21 turnovers, you cut that in half, and you’re getting 10 more shots,” Nagy said.
“Our team is shooting dang near 50% for the year. You’re talking about 10 points — and some of those would be 3′s. That’s what you’re giving away.”
The Raiders are averaging 13.6 turnovers per game. That’s 260th out of 353 teams nationally.
They’re on their worst pace since also averaging 13.6 in 2011-12. They’ve never averaged more than 13.1 under Nagy, and he’s resorted to some drastic measures to find a remedy.
“We’re at the point in the year where it’s hard to go backwards (with fundamentals), but we’re trying to do that a little bit when it comes to passing and coming to the ball and meeting the pass,” he said.
“It’s like Vince Lombardi, when he walked in while they weren’t playing well. He said, ‘Gentlemen, this is a football.’ We’re going back to the basics.”
Senior point guard Trey Calvin leads the team with 64 . But while his turnovers keep going up each year — from 1.7 per game as a sophomore, to 2.1 and now 2.9 — he’s more at risk of losing the ball because the Raiders need him to be so assertive offensively.
Forward Brandon Noel has 55, guard Tim Finke 51 and center A.J. Braun 31.
While Nagy isn’t keen on giving anyone a pass, Finke leads the team in minutes, and Noel and Braun handle the ball frequently because the Raiders make sure their post players get plenty of touches.
Four-time All-Horizon League pick Loudon Love led Wright State in turnovers four straight years.
But Nagy said: “We’ve got to develop better habits. We’re too good as a team passing the ball to turn it over this much.”
TV TIME: The Raiders’ final home game on Friday, Feb. 10, against Northern Kentucky will air on ESPNU at 9 p.m.
They played one other time this year on national TV, beating Detroit Mercy, 90-85, on Jan. 6.
Wright State at Youngstown State, 7 p.m., ESPN+, 980
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