Wright State basketball: Nagy troubled by Raiders’ inconsistency

FAIRBORN — Wright State coach Scott Nagy went through his mental checklist before the Northern Kentucky game Thursday and thought everything was in place:

The game plan was sound.

The players looked motivated.

And the points of emphasis were, well, emphasized.

But Nagy only needed to see a few possessions to realize something was amiss.

“Northern Kentucky played well, but your team has something to do with that, too,” he said.

“I thought we’d be ready to play. I knew going on the road would be tough — when you go THERE, particularly, because they’re good. But once again, when the game started, it didn’t look like we were prepared.”

The Raiders were playing the Horizon League’s only unbeaten team, and they were no match.

They fell behind by 10 in the first half, rallied to cut it to four at halftime and then not only had their doors blown off, but their bumpers too, in quickly falling behind by 18 in the second half.

The 78-64 defeat continued a season-long trend of not knowing what to expect from the Raiders.

Picked to finish third in the league, they’ve looked as strong at times as Nagy’s past five teams, which have won either the HL regular-season or tournament title. But they’ve also resembled a team periodically that seems destined for also-ran status.

They started 5-2 against top-tier competition. They battled defending Atlantic 10 champion Davidson to double-overtime before falling, beat Louisville on the road (albeit in a down year for the Cardinals) and then went 2-1 at the Vegas 4 tourney against three mid-major teams that averaged 22 wins last year.

But they followed that with four straight clunkers, including double-digit home defeats to Robert Morris (picked eighth in the league) and Youngstown State (fifth).

They had one of their best showings of the year in an 88-80 win at Miami just before Christmas, but they couldn’t sustain it in their first game after the holiday at NKU.

“There’s clearly some things as a coach that I have to figure out how to do better. And some of it falls on the players, too, just being more consistent and more reliable. It falls on all of us, and I think everyone knows that,” Nagy said.

Though the Raiders couldn’t have foreseen being 7-7 overall and 0-3 in the league, there were some positives against the Norse.

Senior guard Trey Calvin is causing defenses fits again, racking up 31 points after getting 27 against Miami. And classmates Amari Davis (10 points) and Tim Finke (10 rebounds, six assists, four points) never backed down against NKU.

“I thought our seniors in particular — the three of them gave us good minutes and competed. We just didn’t get much help from the younger guys,” Nagy said.

“They all seemed to struggle. I feel like with our older guys, we’ve got things figured out. We need the younger guys to join them, and then we’ll be fine. But our (lack of) consistency has been a problem.”

MONDAY’S GAME

Wright State at IUPUI, 2 p.m., ESPN+, 980

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