Wright State basketball: Raiders flip the script, hammer Youngstown State

Wright State guard Tanner Holden scores against Youngstown State during a Horizon League game at the Nutter Center in Fairborn Jan. 9, 2021. Wright State won 93-55. Contributed photo by E.L. Hubbard
Wright State guard Tanner Holden scores against Youngstown State during a Horizon League game at the Nutter Center in Fairborn Jan. 9, 2021. Wright State won 93-55. Contributed photo by E.L. Hubbard

Tanner Holden leads way with 24 points; Loudon Love reaches 1,000 career rebounds

FAIRBORN --The Horizon League schedule of playing back-to-back games on a weekend is physically taxing for the players.

And it’s not exactly easy on the coaches, either.

Wright State’s Scott Nagy went through anguish after a two-point home loss to Youngstown State on Friday and wasn’t able to fully recover until a bounce-back victory Saturday.

“I can tell you, I didn’t sleep last night — at least not well,” he said after the 93-55 victory. “I just tossed and turned and was bothered by so many things.”

The Raiders split a pair of games the previous weekend at Oakland, winning by 39 and then losing by 10. Somehow, ending with a clunker was tougher for Nagy to swallow.

“It’s odd,” he said. “Last week, we win by 39 and then lose, and it’s a terrible week because we’re coming off a loss. This week, it’s lose-win, and now we feel great, and it’s the same result: 1-1.

“If we can just get balanced out, play hard and be consistent, we’ll see what our team can do.”

Wright State certainly flipped the script in the second game — not just making a few revisions, but sending the entire draft into the shredder.

After looking lethargic in the first half of Friday’s narrow defeat, the Raiders became relentless and ran their offense with precision, shooting 51.5% from the floor.

Having gotten beaten on the boards for only the third time this season, they muscled their way to a 30-11 first-half edge that expanded to 51-29 for the game.

Unable to find an answer for Penguins star Naz Bohannon (28 points, eight rebounds), they bottled up the 6-foot-6 brute, giving up just seven points and seven rebounds.

And having dug themselves a 13-point hole in the defeat, they asserted themselves from the start, racing to leads of 20-4, 55-28 and 62-30.

“It was definitely a tough loss,” said sophomore wing Tanner Holden, who had tied his season high with 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting. “I think for this one, we had a different mindset. You can’t wait around to get a game going. Today, we jumped on them early and kept our foot on the pedal.

“It was definitely a revenge game, and I wanted to play my heart out for my team.

Loudon Love had eight rebounds to give him 1,000 on the nose for his career, making him the first player in program history to reach that milestone.

The 6-8, 255-pound center also had 15 points for 1,559 in four seasons, tying Mark Vest, who played from 1984-86, for eighth on the school’s all-time scoring list.

But there was no ceremony for the rebounding feat — either on the floor or in the locker room.

“I didn’t even know that,” Nagy said when told about the achievement. “But he’s been a great kid to coach for sure. He’s a very unselfish teammate. I’ve said it many times that I wish he was more selfish, but he’s definitely someone you want on your side because he’ll fight for you.

“It’s been well-documented about him getting his body in shape, and he’s kept it in shape. We’ve built a pretty good program around him and have been able to bring in pretty good players because of him.”

Holden added: “He’s an animal on the glass. We definitely have to give him some love.”

Wright State suffered a rare home loss to YSU on Friday night, falling, 74-72, when Garrett Covington slipped free, took a pass from Bohannon and scored at the rim at the buzzer.

In 30 previous home games in the series, the Raiders had lost only twice: 80-75 in 2016-17 and 74-69 in 2014-15.

They won the first 15 meetings at home.

Bohannon made up for the absence of Wayne grad Darius Quisenberry by tallying 28 points and eight rebounds. He made 11 of 19 field goals and 6 of 7 free throws.

Asked about the defensive change on the preseason second-team all-league pick, Nagy said: “Just more help. We got too spread out last night. And today, every time he put it on the floor, he had people around him. And it was much more difficult for him because of that.”

The Raiders showed some accuracy on 3′s that’s been lacking for much of the year, making 11 of 23 with Tim Finke going 4 of 4. The sophomore wing tied the game with a corner trey with 13.5 seconds to go.

But they were out-rebounded for only the third time this season (38-35).

Nagy certainly noticed the difference intensity between the two games.

“That’s just what losing does,” he said.

He added: “These back-to-backs are tough. We’re all drained by the two days in a row. But we played hard.”

FRIDAY’S GAME

Cleveland State at Wright State, 7 p.m., ESPNU, 106.5

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