CHATTANOOGA – Close games are nothing unusual for this year’s Wright State Raiders. A one point win over Butler, a one point win over Miami, a four point win over Cal State Fullerton and tonight a win over Belmont in overtime 78-74.
With 20 seconds left in regulation play Wright State (7-3) led 60-58. The more experienced Belmont called time out to set up a final play with 13 seconds left.
Belmont’s Mathew Dotson came from behind a screen to shoot a 3-pointer that missed, but his teammate Jordan Campbell was in position under the basket to get the rebound and put it back in to tie the game 60-60.
The Raiders called timeout to set up a final play with 2.3 seconds left, but nothing came of it as Scottie Wilson heaved up a desperation shot from 25 feet that missed as time ran out.
In overtime, the Raiders scored first when Scottie Wilson hit a jumper to make it 62-60.
After a bunch of missed free throws by both teams the score was tied 63-63 at the 2:57 mark.
Just 30 seconds later Wilson slammed home a dunk to give the Raiders the lead at 65-63, a lead they would hold until the end of overtime.
Two free throws by Wright State’s Vaughn Duggins pushed the lead to eight points at 71-63, but Belmont (7-6) still had plenty of fight in them.
With 24 seconds left Justin Hare hit a 3-pointer to get the lead back down to two points at 73-71. But Duggins and Wilson each hit two foul shots to get the lead back to six. A layup by Campbell just before the buzzer sounded got the score back down to four points at 78-74.
“We played it hard , we had a good game plan and we won,” explained Wright State’s Tood Brown. “People hit their shots and they stepped up.”
Brown who led all scorers with 26 points thought that having to go the extra five minutes was tough on the Raiders and he planned to head to his hotel room to rest.
“I wish we had won it in regulation. Mentally I am glad we won but for our bodies the extra five minutes takes a lot out of us.”
The difference in this game?
According to Belmont’s coach Rick Byrd the Raiders got too many second chances under their basket.
“They got too many second chance points,“ said Byrd. “It is hard to name a single play, they just got too high a percentage of their missed shots.”
Led by Wilson’s 17 rebounds, Wright State out-rebounded Belmont 45-36 which led to 12 second chance points.
Wright State’s coach Brad Brownell couldn’t really put his finger on a single thing that made the difference in this game. He did point out that when they geared their defense to guard Duggins it opened up some other opportunities.
“They really keyed in on Vaughn initially. When they pressed us it opened the court up and Vaughn made some plays both passing and shooting.”
Wright State shot a respectable 49.1 percent (26-53) compared to 39.7 percent (25-63) for the Bruins.
Belmont’s 3-point shooting kept them in the game. The Bruins 34.4 percent (11-32) compared to just 25 percent (3-12) for the Raiders.
Byrd thought the Raiders were a very good team and that concerned him coming into this game, but was proud his team hung with Wright State most of the game.
“If we are good enough to play Wright State even in regulation play it must mean we are pretty good.”
-Wright State leads the all-time series 2-1.
-Belmont’s coach Rick Byrd is one of just 17 active NCAA head coaches with 500 or more career victories. Byrd stands at 523 victories.
-Former Raider DaShaun Wood holds the scoring record at Belmont’s Curb Event Center with 29.
-Belmont is 4-13 all-time against the Horizon League teams.
-Wright State had about 100 or so noisy fans in attendance.
-Belmont had several hundred fans at the game.