Wright State Raiders men’s basketball would return home on Saturday, looking to move to 3-0 for the second year in a row.
In came the winless Green Bay Phoenix. They were coming off two close losses to Milwaukee to open up conference play. Along with this, they were ranked as a bottom 50 defense on KenPom, really struggling on 2-point field goal percentage.
After an injury scare last week, Tim Finke was back in the lineup. It started slow for the Raiders as they were 2-13 from the field going into the first media timeout.
Wright State would trail by five out of that, then tie the game up soon after, going on a 5-0 run. A later 4-0 run gave the Raiders a half-high three-point lead, led by Grant Basile’s five points.
Basile would end the game with 11 points and 8 rebounds off the bench, ranking 48th nationally in effective field goal percentage. Him and Loudon Love would play the final ten minutes of the first half.
“Having them on the floor at the same time is great, they can both play the four, they can both play the five” stated Jaylon Hall postgame “It makes it a lot easier on the guards.”
The Raiders would take a 23-21 lead at the break, in quite possibly their worst start of a game this year. They would begin 11-35 from the field, and 1-8 from three point range.
It was back-and-forth throughout the first twenty minutes with 8 lead changes. Loudon Love had 8 points and 12 rebounds early.
The next ten minutes would be back-and-forth once again, but a Tim Finke three at the 11:30 mark would give them a game-high seven point lead. They would hold onto that throughout, getting it up to ten at 4:20 and as much as 12 before the final media timeout.
Wright State would win game number one, 90-77, as Loudon Love had another double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Tanner Holden would follow with 18 points and 10 rebounds, good for his fourth career double-double.
Jaylen Hall would be the only other double digit scorer, scoring 12.
” I’m super proud of him that he was able to work through that in the game, and so that we didn’t lose him, because I feel like in the past we would’ve lost him.” said Nagy on Hall postgame.
Wright State would also show a tight defensive approach, keeping Green Bay to 38.3% shooting throughout the game. The Raiders would own the rebound advantage, 47-30.
Heading into Sunday afternoon, the Raiders would look to go 4-0 for the second year in a row. They struggled out the gates once again, as Green Bay went into the first media timeout with a 7-0 run, taking a 14-8 lead early.
The game would be tied or real close the rest of the first half as Wright State would trail by three at the break.
“Everyone was kinda mad. It felt like a fifteen point game to us, but we were only down three. Just because you know how much better you could do.” said Tanner Holden postgame.
Defense was the problem early, as Green Bay shot an impressive 14-28 from the field. Amari Davis would score 20 of his 35 in that half.
“Overall I thought they played better than we did, and I’m not too happy about it.” said Coach Scott Nagy.
Tanner Holden would have an impressive first half as well, going 5-5 from the field, scoring 13. He would have 19 on the game.
Out of the break the Raiders would begin the half on a 14-4 run. They didn’t look back from there.
They would take a double-digit lead with 12:21 remaining, and later go on a 17-2 run giving them a 70-53 lead. Wright State would win, 90-77.
All five Raiders starters scored double-digit points, led by Jaylon Hall’s 22. Loudon Love played the least time of the five and was only one rebound shy of a double-double with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Grant Basile also had 10 off the bench.
“We always play for each other. It’s not about “me”, it’s about “we”.” said Holden during Sunday’s postgame press conference.
The difference on Sunday was free throw attempts. Wright State had 30 in comparison to Green Bay’s 11, and the Raiders really capitalized. They went 24-30 from the charity stripe, good for 80%. Green Bay only made eight of their attempts, good for 72.7%.
Wright State will continue conference play on New Years Day at Oakland University. The Golden Grizzlies swept Detroit Mercy over the weekend to get their first two wins of the season.