Wright State claims 5th win in a row against local rival Miami (OH)

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The first snow of the year in the Miami Valley brought about a scattered flurry, just enough to see on the grass outside of the Nutter Center. As December and non-conference season draws to a close, Wright State hosted Miami for their final non-conference Division 1 matchup. The games between Miami and Wright State have been consistent year to year for the entire 21st century, with the only hiccup being the 2021 COVID campaign. Meeting for the 39th time in their history, and with the last four underneath the belt of the Raiders to start chipping away at the all-time deficit of 17-21, the Raiders looked to draw another win out of their local opponent.

The crowd was at half capacity, just over 4000 total, to watch the two teams battle it out once again. Local matchups like these certainly feel special, bringing the whole community out to watch the games and give excitement to everyone watching. This paragraph is sponsored by the Gem City Jam.

Wright State started on the wrong foot, allowing Miami to carve themselves inside and score easy points on the layup. After Wright State tied it up they went on a torrid fast break streak, getting steal after steal and drilling the Redhawks’ passing lanes.

Following the 8 point run, Miami made a run of their own to claw back into the Raiders lead. The Raiders and Redhawks then wrestled for the lead trading shot deficits until Miami nailed some three pointers to put up some separation. At halftime, with the score at 43-39 Miami, the Raiders were looking at the possibility of another defeat on home court.

The Raiders had an impressive 65% shooting percentage in the first half, buoyed by a perfect Tanner Holden going 8-8 through cutter layups. However, the Raiders defense allowed open lanes for Miami to get through for layups and rebounds, and wide open shots from the three. Miami found success at the three point line and on the boards, going 5-9 from three and pulling in 6 offensive boards for some juicy second chance points.

Miami started off the second half by bombing from the arc for three straight, bringing the deficit to a game high 9 points, but the Raiders exploded into action, going on a 17-2 run early to go up 60-54. Wright State managed to get some defensive stops through the remainder of the second half and after a spurt by the Redhawks to get as close as two in the final minutes, the Raiders got some fantastic thievery from Trey Calvin, picking the pockets of the Redhawks twice for two fast break buckets to seal it away with a high-scoring 92-82 victory.

Led by Tanner Holden’s near perfect 27 point outing and Brandon Noel’s second double double with 25 points and 12 rebounds, Wright State shot an overall 67% percent on the floor with 64 points in the paint. While Miami had as high as 11 three pointers in the game, they missed 7 straight at the end, including the final two where the Wright State defense had clamped down on their shot selection and forced the Redhawks to panic.

Wright State’s defense seems to shine for only a few minutes each game, such as with the steals in the first quarter that led to three straight fast breaks or Calvin’s steals to seal the game. Overall however, the Wright State defense struggled throughout in keeping Miami from getting shots that they want to shoot. Wright State is still struggling to prevent open lanes, a theme that haunted them in the Western Kentucky matchup, and keeping to the assignment in the man-to-man style Nagy likes to play. One aspect of the game was not getting set quickly enough in transition, leading to scores like this:

“We’ve been good offensively and we’ve struggled defensively, when you shoot [67]% and you oughta win by more than ten,” Nagy commented.

Miami had a balanced effort from across their roster with each player scoring at least 4 points. Bryson Bultman and Bradley Dean off the bench led with 12 points, with former Cleveland State Viking Anderson Mirambeaux putting through 11.

Wright State has one final matchup at home against Division III Muskingum before taking the long road trip to Wisconsin to begin league play. Muskingum visits the Nutter Center on December 22nd for a 1 pm matchup, one final tune up before the Horizon League competition begins.

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