Wright State basketball: Raiders tested but pull out another conference win

FAIRBORN — Wright State has displayed an ability to put foes away when they start building leads, punishing them into submission and getting them to say “Uncle” or “Thank you sir, may I have another?”

But in the second half of two straight games this weekend, Milwaukee looked like the fresher and hungrier team, showing no intention of tapping out.

“We could not get stops either night when we needed to,” Raiders coach Scot Nagy said. “The way we had to beat them was just out-score them. One or their assistants, Paris (Parham), said it felt like the ’70′s NBA where there was no defense and a lot of scoring.”

The Raiders raced to a 22-point first-half lead, but they let it dwindle to 15 at halftime and then felt genuine concern when it was whittled to six several times down the stretch Saturday afternoon.

But they still had enough firepower to prevail, 92-82, thanks largely to Loudon Love’s 29 points and 12 rebounds and by being other-worldly at the foul line, going 24 of 26 (that includes a miss on the last meaningless attempt).

The Panthers, though, outscored their hosts, 45-40, in the second half after getting the better of the Horizon League preseason favorites in the second half Friday, 53-50, in a 92-81 defeat.

“Honestly, when they came into this game, they were ninth in the league in offense. I don’t know what they’ve been doing. We’re the best defensive team in the league and we couldn’t get them stopped either game,” Nagy said.

“Thankfully, we were good again offensively. We hit big shots when we needed to.”

Jaylon Hall had 19 points off the bench, three off his career high, while making all four of his 3-point attempts. The Raiders were 10 of 19 from the arc after going 11 of 22 Friday.

Tanner Holden chipped in 14 points, and point guard Trey Calvin had another solid game, getting 13 points and four assists. In two weekend games, he committed just one turnover.

In the five games since his only single-digit showing of the season, the 6-8, 255-pound Love has averaged 25 points and 10.5 rebounds.

He was fouled repeatedly, going 7 of 8 on free throws after making 9 of 13 a day earlier

“He was settling for six-foot jump hooks before,” Nagy said. “He shot one of those tonight, and I called him over and said, “Cut that out. Get to the basket. Take that extra dribble and back them up under the rim.’

“The past five games, he hasn’t hardly taken any of those jump hooks. He’s been at the rim, and he’s played great.”

The Panthers (7-10, 6-9), were trailing only 78-72 at 4:34 after a layup by DeAndre Gholston, who had 49 points in the two games.

But the Raiders (17-4, 15-3) responded to notch their ninth straight conference win, one short of the program record.

Holden had a three-point play at 4:03.

A 3 by Hall made it 84-74 with three minutes to go.

And after Milwaukee made one last spurt, a 3 by Calvin pushed the lead back to 10 and ended it.

“That’s a very talented team,” Hall said. “They had good stretches where they were getting stops and were scoring, and we couldn’t stop them.

“But Lou got us going with his inside presence, and once he got going, we just followed along with him and were able to secure the W.”

The Raiders began the day tied for first in the Horizon League with Cleveland State, who lost at Detroit Mercy on Friday and played the Titans again Saturday night.

They’ve tied their program record for league wins, which was set last season when they were outright champs (there are two more conference games this year).

“This is where you lose perspective. We won this weekend by 11 points and 10 points in conference games. And playing the same team twice, that’s not easy to do,” Nagy said. “But we’ve been winning by so many points, when you win by 11 and 10, it feels like you didn’t even play good.

“It’s hard to win any college basketball game, and that’s a good team. We didn’t blow them out like we did some teams. But we’re doing things right for sure.”


Wright State at Northern Kentucky, 6 p.m., ESPN3, 106.5

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