Wright State senior forward Bill Wampler is such a proven shooter that nobody around the program thought his slump through the first five games would last.
Wampler scored 27 points, two off his career high, and reached 1,000 for his career while leading the Raiders to a 72-57 win over Weber State in the first round of the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla., on Monday.
He scored the Raiders’ first 12 points and was 9 of 15 from the field, 4 of 8 on 3-pointers and 5 of 6 on foul shots. He also had four rebounds and three assists.
Wampler, who started his career at Drake, went into the game shooting just 36.2 percent, including 34.4 on 3’s. He hit 42.6 percent overall and 36.4 from the arc last season.
“Bill just put too much pressure on them,” coach Scott Nagy said on his post-game radio show. “He was just so sharp offensively that it ends up making everyone else better because they have to worry so much about him.”
Junior center Loudon Love had his third double-double this year after getting 12 in 35 games last season, finishing with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Love had followed a 27-point, 16-rebound effort at Miami with a couple of ho-hum outings. And Nagy wants him to make crashing the glass a priority, knowing the points will follow.
“His two highest scoring games are also his two highest rebounding games. If he gets double-doubles for us, we’re going to be in a pretty good spot.” Nagy said.
The Raiders (5-1) will play La Salle (3-2) in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Wright State built a 39-23 halftime lead and led by 23 with 16:29 to go. Weber State (1-3) wasn’t able to get closer than 12 after that.
Skyelar Potter had eight points off the bench, and Grant Basile, the Horizon League freshman of the week, had six points and four rebounds in 12 minutes.
Jerrick Harding, the Big Sky preseason player of the year, had 21 points for Weber State, which shot 22 of 60 from the field and 5 of 21 on 3’s. Cody John, the team’s second-leading scorer with an 11.0 average, went 0 of 12 from the field and had one point.
“Overall, it was probably the best full defensive game we played all year. It was really sharp,” Nagy said.
Raiders only committed one turnover in the first half and seven for the game.
“That’s where I’d like to see it. … We’re going to be hard to beat if we take care of the ball,” Nagy said.
The fourth-year coach added: “I’m very pleased with the guys. I say a lot of tough stuff to them — and some of it, I’m out of my mind when I say it. I have to go back and apologize to them.
“But I told them I hope they don’t take it personally. And if they do, they have to come talk to me. They know I love them. They just take it. And they laugh it off after the game.”
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