Wright State overwhelms Detroit Mercy with all-around attack

Wright State's Grant Basile, pictured during last week's game vs. Purdue Fort Wayne, scored 29 points Friday night in the Raiders' win over Detroit Mercy. Joseph Craven/Wright State Athletics

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Wright State's Grant Basile, pictured during last week's game vs. Purdue Fort Wayne, scored 29 points Friday night in the Raiders' win over Detroit Mercy. Joseph Craven/Wright State Athletics

FAIRBORN — Detroit Mercy may have the country’s leading scorer in Antoine Davis, but leaning heavily on one player was no match for Wright State’s strength-in-numbers approach.

The Raiders put five players in double figures and shot 57.6% from the field to coast to a 90-59 victory at the Nutter Center on Friday.

Proving they’re capable of finding openings against a zone — which was missing in recent losses to Cleveland State and Northern Kentucky — the Raiders scored 14 straight points in one first-half stretch and took a 42-25 halftime lead.

They made 17 of 27 shots (63%) in the opening 20 minutes and held the Titans, who dressed just 10 players, scoreless for a six-minute span while building a hefty lead in a game postponed a day because of bad weather.

Detroit eventually had to abandon its zone and went man-to-man, which the Raiders much prefer. They reached 90 points for the first time this season against an opponent other than UIC and are 10-1 against Detroit under coach Scott Nagy.

“How many teams have we gotten out of their zone?” a pleased Nagy asked afterward. “We figured some things out in terms of where to put people in the zone and how to play against it a little better.

“I like where we are with that now. I think we’ll do better against zones. Everybody is like, ‘Oh, you’ve just got to zone them.’ But we’re getting to the point where you’re not going to be able to do either.”

All-Horizon League forward Grant Basile — who had been MIA for five straight halves until shaking his slump Sunday against Purdue Fort Wayne — tallied 10 points in the first 5:48 and 29 for the night.

That’s his most since getting 37 against Marshall on Nov. 12.

He scored just nine at NKU, five against CSU and five in the first half against PFW (he finished with 21). He was 12 of 15 from the field and pulled down a game-high eight rebounds, becoming the 22nd player in the program’s 500-rebound club.

“It was a rough stretch for me, but I found a way tonight,” Basile said. “I’m just trying to get back (personally) and help us win some basketball games.”

Junior wing Tanner Holden added 15 points. Leading the nation in free throws and attempts, he went 5 of 6 from the foul line.

Junior guard Trey Calvin chipped in 11 points and seven assists, and freshman center A.J. Braun and sophomore guard Andrew Welage had 11 points apiece.

“Trey is playing at an unbelievable level,” Nagy said. “He didn’t force anything offensively. He knew he had a tough defensive assignment and only took seven shots (make four with a pair of treys) for 11 points.”

The 6-foot-1 Calvin was assigned to Davis, who was averaging 24 points and is the league’s career leader in 3′s.  Having once dropped 48 points on the Raiders, he was held to a season-low 15 on 5-of-19 shooting, including 2 of 9 from 3.

Tim Finke, a 6-5 junior, also took some cracks at stopping Davis and was able to keep the preseason league player of the year in check.

His career low of 10 points came against Wright State on Dec. 20, 2020, and he had only 10 points until the final 5:45 of mop-up time.

“Conventional wisdom is to put someone bigger on him, make him shoot over that,” Nagy said. “But Trey is so hard to drive. And you can’t get him up in the air. We kept Davis, for the most part, off the free-throw line (he was 3 of 5).

“They’ve got other good players, but you’ve got to get him shut down first.”

Calvin hit a mid-range jumper for the first points of the second half, and the game was never in doubt after that.

The convincing win was just what the Raiders needed going into its showdown with visiting Oakland (16-6, 9-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Grizzlies lost, 87-78, in overtime at Northern Kentucky on Friday.

SATURDAY’S GAME

Oakland at Wright State, 7 p.m., ESPN+, 980

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