Wright State basketball: Raiders go cold, fall to Panthers on the road

Wright State was looking for its first road sweep of the Horizon League’s two Wisconsin teams since 2012-13 — and it certainly seemed doable after starting the quest with a rout of Green Bay on Wednesday and needing only a win over lowly Milwaukee two days later.

But turning in one of the worst offensive performances in six years under coach Scott Nagy, the Raiders let a 10-point second-half lead slip away and fell, 60-57.

They went 20 of 69 from the field (29%) and 7 of 26 on 3-pointers (26.9%). They fell to 15-11 overall and 12-5 in the league while getting their four-game winning streak snapped.

Grant Basile, playing in his home state, went 4 of 17 from the floor, finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Tanner Holden, averaging 20.6 points, scored just eight on 4-of-16 shooting. He did grab a season-high 15 rebounds before fouling out with 17 seconds left.

Trey Calvin had a game-high 18 points, going 7 of 15 overall and 2 of 7 on 3-pointers. One of his errant 3′s came on a chance to tie the game at the buzzer.

Milwaukee (8-18, 6-11) had lost six straight games and nine of its last 11.

“Offensively, we were out of rhythm the whole night. You have to give them credit. They really tightened up their defense,” Nagy said on his post-game radio show.

The Raiders’ goal each game is to pound teams inside. Opponents are taking that away, though, and not fearing getting hurt from 3.

Wright State is shooting 32.4% from the arc after hitting 37% last season.

“You’re going to have to shoot the ball better than 7 of 26 from 3 if you want to win basketball games,” Nagy said. “And we’re going to see the same thing Sunday (against Northern Kentucky). They’re going to pack it in.”

The Raiders shot below 30% from the field for only the third time under Nagy. It was their worst game since hitting 28.3% against UIC in the HL semifinals on March 9, 2020.

The 3-point clip was the lowest since going 3 of 23 (13%) against George Washington on Nov. 22.

“Everybody knows what we’re trying to do,” Nagy said. “Defensively, we played good enough. We held them to 38%. I don’t fault our guys’ effort at all. I’m proud of them. It’s just a night where we didn’t shoot the ball very well.”

Playing without star freshman Patrick Baldwin Jr. — and coming off a humiliating 75-39 home loss to Northern Kentucky on Wednesday — the Panthers took a 47-45 lead with 5:30 to go on a three-point play by Tafari Simms.

They stretched the lead to 55-49 when Simms hit a 3 at 1:38.

The Raiders tried to rally. Calvin made a quick 3 at 1:25, and, after Donovan Newbie made one of two free throws, Basile knocked down a 3 with 48 seconds left to cut it to 56-55.

The Panthers missed twice on their next possession but grabbed an offensive rebound each time — they had a 50-42 edge on the glass — and Holden fouled Simms, who made both free throws for a 58-55 lead with 17 seconds left.

Wright State’s Keaton Norris was fouled intentionally and made two free throws with 11 seconds to go. Newby then converted a 1-and-1 with seven seconds left before Calvin’s last gasp went awry.

The Raiders squandered a chance to edge closer to first-place Cleveland State, which fell to 12-3 after a shocking one-point home loss to UIC on Thursday.

The Vikings have a home game against last-place IUPUI at 3 p.m. Saturday.

SUNDAY’S GAME

Northern Kentucky at Wright State, Noon, ESPN+, 980

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