Wright State basketball: Raiders lose battle of boards, fall at Cleveland State

Wright State put together a recent surge that had generated some optimism that at least a top-four finish in the Horizon League was within range.

And it still might be — though it will require much help.

After winning three in a row and five of their previous six games, the Raiders were pounded by nemesis Cleveland State, 85-68, Friday night to fall to 16-12 overall and 9-8 in the league.

They trailed by 11 points late in first half and managed to cut the deficit to 51-50 with 14 minutes to go.

But the Vikings (17-11, 12-5) took control after that in sweeping the regular-season series for the second year in a row.

“They physically just beat us up,” coach Scott Nagy said on his post-game radio show. “I feel like I didn’t get the guys ready enough for how physical they were going to be because we didn’t respond at all.”

Nagy adjusted his starting lineup again, going with center A.J. Braun in place of guard Andrew Welage, putting two “bigs” on the floor with forward Brandon Noel to match up with the taller Vikings.

It didn’t help.

Trey Calvin scored 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting (including 4 of 5 on 3′s), while Welage had 14 and Noel 10. But the visitors were battered on the boards.

The Vikings had a 46-28 rebounding edge, snagging 17 offensive rebounds.

“We were just very soft tonight,” Nagy said. “Of all the things for me to watch, that’s the worst thing to watch.

“You’re not winning any games when you get beat that badly on the boards. It doesn’t matter what the rest of the stats are. If you get beat that badly, you physically got whipped.”

Youngstown State is in first place at 13-4 with three games to go — meaning the Raiders are officially eliminated from the title race — followed by Milwaukee, Cleveland State and Northern Kentucky at 12-5 and Oakland at 10-8.

Youngstown State and Milwaukee have games Saturday.

The Raiders were out-rebounded in the first half by a whopping 26-12, giving up 11 offensive rebounds.

But Calvin hit two 3′s in the final 2:06 — including a 40-footer at the buzzer — to cut a 41-30 deficit to 41-36.

The senior guard was 5 of 7 from the field and 4 of 4 on 3′s for 14 points.

The rest of the team was 9 of 25 from the floor.

The Raiders shot 26 of 62 for the game (41.9%). The Vikings were 35 of 66 (53%).

Tristan Enaruna had 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead CSU. Wayne grad Deshon Parker came off the bench and had five points, six rebounds and four assists.


Wright State at Purdue Fort Wayne, 2 p.m., ESPN+, 980

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