DAYTON – When a team out-shoots its opponent from the field, from 3-point land and from the foul line you would expect that team to win.
Well, except if that team is the Wright State Raiders.
The visiting Cleveland State Vikings managed to steal a win 65-63 over Wright State and send 6477 fans home sad.
First the stats. Wright State 54.1 % FG (20-37), 63.6 % 3FG (7-11) and 72.7% (16-22). Cleveland State 39.7%FG(23-58), 29.4% 3FG(5-17) and 70%(14-20)
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The Vikings out rebounded Wright State (9-6, 2-4 HL) 34-24 but here is the killer, they got 21 offensive rebounds.
Wright State coach Brad Brownell pointed out rebounding as the one area that his team under-performed in tonight and that was probably the difference in the game. “They were bigger and stronger. That is the only area we didn’t play well,” said a dejected Brownell. “I thought our kids played pretty hard but we were worn down a little bit.”
A thin Raider team played just seven players tonight and two of the players played single digit minutes compared to Cleveland State’s 10 players seeing action.
In an ironic twist Cleveland State (12-5, 5-0 HL) a team not known for good 3-point shooting team, usually preferring to pound it down inside won this game on a 3-pointer by Kevin Francis with 11.9 seconds left to play.
Wright State called a timeout to set up the final play. Vaughn Duggins brought the ball down drove over near the Raider bench and passed it to Todd Brown, he got tied up and Cleveland State’s J’Nathan Bullock knocked the ball away, when Brown recovered and called another timeout, there was only 1.2 seconds left.
The inbound pass to Wright State’s Jordan Pleiman got knocked out of bounds with .5 seconds left. The Vikings prevented Wright State from getting anything that resembled a shot off and Cleveland State held on to first place in the Horizon League.
The game started off with Wright State on fire as they went up 11-1 and then 16-3. But the Vikings went on an 11-0 run that was propelled by two 3=pointers by Francis. A 3-pointer by Duggins got the Raiders back on track as they built their lead back up to 12 points when Will Graham hit two free throws.
Cleveland State got back to within three when Bullock out-muscled Pleiman to tip a loose ball in and make it 34-31. Two more free throws by Graham got the lead back to five points at 36-31 going into halftime.
“We won the game at the end of the first half when we fought back, said Cleveland State coach Gary Waters. “When teams hit threes on us we aren’t playing our defense right. Our guys worked them pretty hard and they (Wright State) were tired. We play 10 or 11 guys, the whole purpose is to wear our opponents down.”
Brownell was happy with his team’s effort and fast start. “I thought we were ready to play we made shots early. They made some adjustments and went with a smaller line up.”
The second half went back and forth. There were 11 lead changes and the score was tied six times. Duggins didn’t use Wright State’s thin numbers as an excuse for tonight’s loss.
“Even though our numbers our kind of limited we have confidence in our guys,” explained Duggins. “Cleveland State is a good team that plays hard all the time. Great teams respond and they responded.”
-Cleveland State has an almost new team this year with 10 new players.
-Gary Waters came out and gave thanks to God and he said he does that after every game.
-For Wright State this is the 12th game this year to be decided by single digits.
-Wright State leads the all-time series
-Wright State has played more games against CSU than any other team.
-Cleveland States next game is at Butler Thursday at 7 p.m.
-Wright State’s next game is Thursday at UIC at 8 p.m.