Wright State coach Scott Nagy has succeeded throughout his career by getting his teams to think defense first, but the Raiders are thriving so far this season mostly because of their prolific offense.
They topped 90 points for the fourth time, beating Oakland, 96-69, on the road Friday to improve to 13-3 overall and 3-0 in the Horizon League.
They put together their highest-scoring first half of the season in taking a 53-33 lead. It was their most points in a half since scoring 58 against Northwestern Ohio in a 91-52 win on Dec. 13, 2018.
And unlike some other games where they let opponents claw their way back, the Raiders never let up, stretching the lead to 68-39 on a jumper by Grant Basile with 14:42 to go.
“There were six minutes left in the first half, and we were up about 12 points, I said, ‘Here’s where we’ve been before so many times, and we haven’t been able to put teams away,’” Nagy said on his post-game radio show. “But we put them away in the first half and really discouraged them.
“And we jumped on them right away in the second half. We hit a couple of 3’s, and they kind of cashed it in. We took the life out of them.”
Bill Wampler led the way with 21 points, while Jaylon Hall had 16, Tanner Holden and Cole Gentry 13 apiece and Jordan Ash 10.
Gentry, who had a game-high seven assists, did all of his scoring in the first half. He went 4 of 4 from the field, 3 of 3 on 3-pointers and 2 of 2 on free throws.
The Raiders shot 36 of 63 from the field (57.1 percent) and went 9 of 19 on 3’s.
Nagy thought they were able to wear down the Grizzlies (6-9, 1-1) because of their deep rotation.
“Guys were coming back to the huddles at the timeouts, saying, ‘Keep running, keep running.’ Cole was like, ‘Even if they score on us, get it in and make these guys run with us,’” Nagy said.
The Raiders went into the night 15th nationally in scoring at 81.5 points per game and tied their highest output of the season, which came in a 96-77 win over Central State.
They’ll play at Detroit Mercy at 1 p.m. Sunday. The Titans (3-12, 1-1) surprised Northern Kentucky, 66-58, at home Friday by putting four players in double figures. Sophomore Antoine Davis, the nation’s leading scorer with a 25.6 average, was plagued by foul trouble and finished with 17.
The Norse, who were regular-season co-champs with Wright State last season and won the league tourney, have been rocked by injuries.
Dontez Walton, their leading scorer with an 18.4 average, hasn’t played since Dec. 15 because of a chest ailment. And Jalen Tate, one of the league’s top all-around players, has been working his way back after missing 10 games with a broken hand.
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