Wright State overcomes slow start, tops Davis-led Green Bay

Wright State guard Jaylon Hall shoots over Green Bay guard Lucas Stieber during a men's basketball game at the Nutter Center in Fairborn Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. E.L. Hubbard/CONTRIBUTED
Wright State guard Jaylon Hall shoots over Green Bay guard Lucas Stieber during a men's basketball game at the Nutter Center in Fairborn Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. E.L. Hubbard/CONTRIBUTED

Raiders score 90-77 win despite career-high 35 points from Trotwood-Madison product

FAIRBORN -- Wright State had a sketchy opening half against winless Green Bay on Sunday, letting the visitors to shoot 52% from the field, losing the rebounding battle and allowing local product Amari Davis to do just about whatever he wanted.

It was a complete departure from the Raiders’ 67-53 win against the Phoenix on Saturday and underscored what coach Scott Nagy has been saying about the perils of the Horizon League schedule:

Playing an opponent on back-to-back days puts the winner of the first game at a severe disadvantage.

“Overall, I thought they played harder than we did, and I’m not very happy about it,” Nagy said. “They out-rebounded us (36-32). Like I told our team at halftime, it’s a group of guys that’s hungry vs. a group of guys that are full.”

The players didn’t need a chewing out because they already were berating themselves.

“You don’t want to feel entitled to winning just because they haven’t won a game,” sophomore Tanner Holden said. “Coming in, they were just playing harder than they were.

“They were hitting tough shots, but that’s going to happen in a college game. You have to forget about it and just move on.”

The Raiders overcame the dialed-in Phoenix — including Davis, a former Trotwood-Madison star who scored 20 of his career-high 35 points in the first half — and built a 17-point second-half lead on the way to a 90-77 Horizon League victory.

Jaylon Hall had a career-high 22 points to lead six players in double figures.

Holden had 19 points and eight rebounds, Loudon Love had 15 points and nine rebounds, Trey Calvin 13 points and six assists, Tim Finke 11 points and Grant Basile 10.

“I wasn’t in that locker room (at halftime), but they got after it in the second half,” first-year Green Bay coach Will Ryan said. “They played a lot harder. They tried to feed the post and were able to get baskets.

“They’re hard to handle, those big guys,” he added of Love and Basile. “They’re strong, they’re physical, they take up a lot of space, and we’re limited with our size. … They aren’t deep, but it feels like they’re deep with that size. It seems like they just keep coming at you.”

After the first-half slog, the Raiders (6-1, 4-0) out-scored the visitors, 34-14, in the opening 10:03 of the second half for a 70-53 lead on the way to their sixth straight win.

Davis was 14 of 24 from the field and 6 of 7 on foul shots for the Phoenix (0-8, 0-4) while scoring 20 above his season average.

Much fell on his shoulders since teammate Josh Jefferson, who is averaging 15 points, missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. Davis was 6 of 16 from the floor and 0 of 2 on free throws while scoring 13 Saturday.

“We were better offensively (than in Saturday’s game), but we were absolutely worthless defensively, particularly early when we needed to be good,” Nagy said.

“Had we been good defensively early, we would’ve done a better job and not let Amari get going. The other players play off him, and he gives them confidence.”

The Raiders were preseason league favorites, and the Phoenix were picked eighth. And Nagy believes his players are still adjusting to the lofty standards in the program.

“The teams with high expectations carry more weight,” he said. “I’ve been on both sides of it. And it’s OK. We want to carry that weight. We want to get used to it. But you saw today what it looks like when the pressure gets to you, and it shows up in not playing hard.”

FRIDAY’S GAME

Wright State at Oakland, 7 p.m., ESPN3, ESPN+, 106.5

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