Wright State hammers IUPUI on the road

After showing up for its previous two games with just five scholarship players, Wright State didn’t exactly get off to an ideal start with a nearly full roster on the road against IUPUI on Thursday.

Maybe the players just needed a little time to get reacquainted.

Tied at 17-all with eight minutes left in the first half, the Raiders outscored their hosts, 22-3, to take a 39-20 halftime lead and stormed to a 73-45 victory before a sparse crowd at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

Grant Basile almost reached his season average in the first half, tallying 17 of his 20 points, as the Raiders improved to 10-8 overall and 7-2 in the Horizon League.

The 6-foot-9 junior had eight points in the closing surge in the first half and finished with eight rebounds and three blocks.

Shooting just 22.1% on 3′s this season, he made 3 of 6 against the Jaguars and 7 of 12 shots overall while notching his third straight game with at least 20 points.

Junior post C.J. Wilbourn had 11 points off the bench, and nine Raiders scored at least three.

“It was such a good team win for us,” coach Scott Nagy said on his post-game radio show. “I told the guys, ‘This is not going to be easy.’ There’s no environment, and it’s hard emotionally to get ready. … But we really locked in, and, defensively, we were good tonight.”

Sub Andrew Welage, who was one of the missing players last week as the program dealt with COVID-19 cases, finished with eight points. His three-point play broke the 17-17 tie and ignited an 11-0 run that allowed the Raiders to reach their comfort zone.

They opened the second half with a 10-2 surge for a 49-22 lead, hiking their record against IUPUI to 10-1 in Nagy’s six seasons.

They started 7 of 17 from the field and but hit 20 of their last 36 attempts to shoot 50.9%. They made only one of their first six 3-pointers before heating up, going 7 of 18 overall.

“That’s what we’ve been talking about all week — just growing up and showing maturity,” Nagy said. “We didn’t play very good against these guys the first time (a 72-58 home win). I just thought we were so locked in defensively.”

The Jaguars, who fell to 1-16 overall with their 11th straight loss, are ranked next-to-last nationally in the NET computer ratings. And they had just 31 points with 4:28 left before picking up the pace at mop-up time.

The Raiders gave up their fewest points since a 58-39 win over Cedarville on Nov. 27, 2018. It also was the lowest Division-I opponent total since a 68-44 victory over Jacksonville on Nov. 25, 2017.

Wright State’s record for fewest points in a game was set with a 57-31 win over UIC on Jan. 24, 2009.

“I’m proud of our guys for taking care of business and caring about their teammates,” Nagy said. “They were excited for other guys to score. That’s exactly what we need. And if Grant and Tanner (Holden) will guard like they did tonight, we’ll be in good shape.”

SATURDAY’S GAME

Wright State at UIC, 8 p.m., ESPN+, 980

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