DAYTON – Coming off a big buzzer-beater win against Miami and playing during the holidays in front of a small crowd the Wright State Raiders were prime targets to be upset at home by St. Bonaventure. With the Bonnies playing tough half-court defense the Raiders were able to avoid being upset at home by playing their own tough defense and making some timely shots to defeat St. Bonaventure 54-45.
Whenever Wright State (5-3) looked like they were going to blow the game wide open the Bonnies would whittle the score down to a one or two possession game.
In the second half Wright State came out and score three straight baskets on a jumper by Jordan Pleiman, a layup by Pleiman and a layup by Scottie Wilson to make it an 11 point lead at 35-24 with just over 17 minutes to play.
St. Bonaventure (5-7) fought back and finally got the deficit to four points when Tyler Benson tipped the ball in at the 8:34 mark.
Wright State got the lead back to six points on a layup by Wilson. The Bonnies then started shooting foul shots. Two by Michael Lee, two by Haley and another by Lee at the 5:55 mark and St. Bonaventure finally got it down to a one procession game at 43-40. That was as close at the Bonnies would get in the second half.
Wilson hit a jumper at the 5:37 mark followed by a 3-pointer by Vaughn Duggins who led the Raiders with 16 points to make it 48-40 with 3:45 left in the game.
After that the Raiders never let the lead slip under five and they made their foul shots to finish out the game.
“They play a lot of different defenses and it is hard to get in a rhythm on offense,” explained Wright State’s Vaughn Duggins. “We have got to get Uncle Mo (momentum) on our side. We have got to go into Christmas 6-3.”
In the first half the teams went back and forth until Wright State got the lead to 12 when Todd Brown when hit a jumper at the 1:48 mark to make it 29-17. It was just 15 seconds later that Haley hit a jumper to cut the Raiders’ lead to 12 points.
Then a 3-pointer by St. Bonaventure’s Haley at the 59 second mark and finally a jumper by Zarryon Fereti at the 26 second mark to make it a five point Raider lead at 29-24 going into the half.
Wright State’s coach Brad Brownell liked the defense the Raiders played and how they held the Bonnies’ two leading scorers Fereti and Michael Lee to just 20 total points, but thought the offensive could have been better.
“There were more points to be had in this game (by Wright State),” said Brownell. “We wanted to make it difficult on Fereti and Lee and we limited them below their averages.”
St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt seemed to agree with Brownell.
“I think Duggins did a great job on Fereti and they did a good job on Lee,” said Schmidt. Schmidt did see a bright spot tonight. “You look at the 13th ranked team in the country (Butler) and they only scored 42 points and we did better than that (against the Raiders),” explained Schmidt.
-The all-time series is tied 2-2
-This the first time since 1978 that St. Bonaventure has been held to below 50 points in back to back games. The last game Hampton beat the Bonnies 55-48.
-When asked about the embarrassingly low attendance of just under 3000 people Brownell had too much class to rip the sports fans in Dayton. He did say that the regular players are not affected too much, but the role players play a lot better in front of larger vocal crowds.
-St. Bonaventure has a 24-22 record against teams from the Horizon League.
-Saint Bonaventure’s next game is Sunday at Binghamton at 4 pm.
-Wright State’s next game is Saturday at Cal State Fullerton at 6 pm.