Wright State basketball: Raiders facing another challenge vs. Wayne grad Quisenberry

Wright State head coach Scott Nagy, center, and the coaching staff watch their team play Green Bay during a men's basketball game at the Nutter Center in Fairborn Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. E.L. Hubbard/CONTRIBUTED
Wright State head coach Scott Nagy, center, and the coaching staff watch their team play Green Bay during a men's basketball game at the Nutter Center in Fairborn Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. E.L. Hubbard/CONTRIBUTED

FAIRBORN -- Wright State coach Scott Nagy believes a key to stopping a prolific scorer is to keep him from getting started.

Sounds simple, of course. But skilled offensive players become more dangerous once they get rolling and their confidence is soaring.

That’s what happened against Youngstown State’s Darius Quisenberry last season. The 6-foot-1 junior guard from Wayne High School dropped 41 points on the Raiders in an 88-70 home win.

The preseason first-team all-league pick went 14 of 26 from the field, 7 of 11 on 3′s and 6 of 6 on foul shots.

He had help, too. Forward Naz Bohannon, a second-team all-league selection, had 16 points and 14 rebounds.

“Quisenberry killed us last time we played them, and their whole team did. They beat us by 21 on the glass,” Nagy said. “I don’t think I’ve ever coached in a game where that’s happened. We got beat up physically, they handled us pretty good, and he went off.

“Part of it is, we’ve got to work hard against him — and he’s not the only one. They’ve got a lot of good players. But you just don’t want him to get going early. You don’t want him to see the ball go in.”

Darius Quisenberry, Youngstown State
Darius Quisenberry, Youngstown State

The Raiders were better against the hometown product in a 79-72 win at the Nutter Center in the first meeting, giving up 19 points but holding him to 5-of-16 shooting. But they found out again last weekend what can happen when an explosive player goes on a rampage.

They held Oakland’s Rashad Williams scoreless in a 90-51 win Friday, but the preseason all-league second-team pick tallied 15 of his team’s first 30 points a day later to propel them to an 81-71 victory.

“The first game, we guarded Williams great, and the second game — right away — we had a break down. He got open and made a shot, and we couldn’t get him stopped,” Nagy said.

“You don’t want to make mistakes early on good players when they feel like they get can going — because then you can do everything correctly, and you still can’t stop them.”

Quisenberry put his name in the NBA draft in the offseason but withdrew it after testing the waters. He’s missed two games with an ankle injury this season and hasn’t been the same.

He averaged 16.6 points, 4.2 assists and 1.5 steals last season while shooting 42.2% overall and 31.1 on 3′s. He’s averaging 13.7 points and shooting 36.6% this year, making just 5 of 31 3′s.

Thin bench: Nagy was complimentary of his reserves before the season, saying his bench was the deepest he’s had in his five years so far.

But when the Raiders get into a dogfight, he only goes seven players deep. And one of them, freshman guard Alex Huibregtse (pronounced HUE-bricks), played just five minutes in the loss to Oakland.

“We need our bench to play a bigger role, and I’ve talked to those guys,” he said. “We have four who would probably like to play more minutes. Their job is to prove they can get those minutes in practice.

“They have to play harder and compete better with the guys who are playing, don’t just settle and say, ‘Oh, this is my lot in life.’ Sometimes, I see kids settle, and I’m not interested in that. I want them to practice and compete.”

Shocking: The Raiders had won seven straight games by an average of 20.6 points before falling at Oakland. And the league schedule of playing only on weekends isn’t an ideal scenario coming off a loss, at least for the players.

Nagy admits he isn’t exactly pleasant company after defeats.

“If they’re going to be around me, they’d better not like losing, or it’s not going to be a good fit,” he said.

“I’m not saying we try to make guys miserable, because that’s not the way we operate. We don’t treat them poorly when we lose and treat them well when we win. We treat them the same. But it allows you to get focused on things — where otherwise, if you’re winning, you can’t get that same focus. They listen after a loss way better.”

Complacency probably was beginning to set in with the ease of the victories.

And beating teams twice on back-to-back days is no easy task — “especially if you win by 40 like we did the first game,” guard Tim Finke said.

The actual margin was 39, but his point is valid.

“You have to stay motivated. We have to figure out how to stay up and keep encouraging each other. It’s easy to win by (39) and just be in coast mode,” he said.

Exposure: The Raiders (7-2, 5-1) will have their second national TV game of the season when they host first-place Cleveland State (6-3, 6-0) on ESPNU at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15.

FRIDAY’S GAME

Youngstown State at Wright State, 7 p.m., ESPN2, 106.5

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