Wright State basketball: Nagy not seeing toughness he expected from team

FAIRBORN — Allowing Davidson to shoot about 58% from the field in an 82-73 road loss Saturday was hard for Wright State coach Scott Nagy to stomach — so much so that he put off his usual deep dive into the stats out of concern of what it might reveal.

“I haven’t looked at it yet because I don’t need to wreck my Sunday, but their field-goal percentage inside the 3-point line had to be off the charts,” he said.

The Wildcats were a pedestrian 11 of 30 on 3′s, and hoisting that many without connecting at a higher clip will often lead to defeat.

But they were an astonishing 19 of 22 on their two-point attempts.

And that doesn’t count the times the Raiders hacked players while shooting, sending them to the foul line.

Davidson was 11 of 19 on free throws, Wright State 7 of 11.

“If you’re allowing that, it’s just an incredible amount of softness. It felt like we gave up a lot more offensive rebounds than we did (eight in all), but every one was a killer for us,” Nagy said.

“It’s not only our softness defensively but our softness offensively. I’m not saying, ‘Oh, we’ve got a bunch of soft guys.’ But in this game, we were very soft.

“They’re big and have more size than we do, but they’re not a great rebounding team, and they whipped us on the glass (31-26).”

The Raiders’ goal each season is to make more free throws than their opponents attempt.

But they’re 104 of 142, while the opposition is 123 of 167.

Getting to the foul line much less frequently than Davidson was especially puzzling for Nagy because his team tried only 10 threes, making four.

“It’s nearly impossible for one team to shoot 30 threes and the other team to shoot 10, and that same team shoots more free throws. It’s a result of our soft play,” he said.

“I’m frustrated, and I’d suspect the guys are, too. We’re — and I’m the leader of it — not very good defensively. It’s like a broken record. We’ve had games where we weren’t soft, but we were more than soft against Davidson.”

What Nagy is looking for is sort of what the Raiders ran into at Belk Arena.

“Davidson isn’t a real physical team, but offensively, they’re a tough team because they set screens and make good cuts. They’d be known as having tough kids because they work their offense and are unselfish,” he said.

“That’s what toughness looks like. Toughness isn’t fouling people and doing crazy things. When you understand the design of a defense and what we’re trying to stop, and yet you let them do that anyway, you’re not tough. That’s a lack of focus and concentration.”

The Raiders (3-5) are 335th out of 362 teams nationally in defensive efficiency, giving up 1.119 points per possession.

Opponents are scoring 80.9 points per game and hitting 49.7%. Those are the highest averages against Wright State since at least 2006 (the school’s online stats don’t go back further than that).

In Nagy’s first seven years, foes never averaged more than 73.7 points or shot better than 45.4%.

The Raiders have played the 74th-toughest schedule in the country, but that’s not providing much consolation.

“I have to be careful not to be angry. I can go there very easily. That’s really my natural tendency — to just be mad at everybody. But my job is to help them figure out the best route to being successful,” Nagy said.

“Getting angry isn’t going to help things, it’s only going to hinder it.”


Bethel (Ind.) at Wright State, 7 p.m., ESPN+, 101.5, 1410

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