DAYTON – For Wright State it was a single home game sandwiched in between four road games and one they had to have to win the Horizon League.
For Youngstown State it was a long-shot opportunity to pick up a rare road win away from home.
To the grateful but sparse crowd of 4334 Raider fans Wright State (13-8, 6-2 HL) took care of business tonight to defeat the Penguins for the seventh consecutive time 62-49.
Wright State Coach Brad Brownell wanted to get this one before heading out on the road for three straight games.
“I think winning on the road is very difficult. I think it will be very difficult for us to go to Youngstown and win,” said Brownell. “That is just the nature of this league right now. The talent is pretty close. Butler is a little bit better than everybody right now. When you go on the road you better be good to win.”
Youngstown State Coach Jerry Slocum agreed it was very hard to win on the road.
“You need to protect your home floor, because it is going to come down to squeaking a win on the road,” explained a tired Slocum.
There was also a showdown of two pre-season first team Horizon League guards as Youngstown State’s Quin Humphrey squared-off against Wright State’s DeShaun Wood.
Neither star shot the ball very well tonight as Humphrey went 8-18 with 22 points to lead all scorers and Wood went 7-18 with 17 points, but did a good job of passing it off when he was covered to also get seven assists.
At the half, Wright State led by 11 points at 34-23.
Ten seconds into the second half Youngstown State’s Jack Liles hit a jumper, then with neither team scoring for almost three minutes the
Penguins’ Byron Davis hit a 3-pointer to get Youngstown State (9-12, 4-5 HL) within three points at 34-28.
That is as close as the Penguins would get to Wright State the rest of the game.
At the 15:08 mark in the second half the Raiders finally got on the board when Wood made a lay up.
By the 11:05 mark the Raiders pushed their lead to 14 points on a 3-pointer by Vaughn Duggins.
The Penguins made one more push to get back in the game as Humphrey and Keston Roberts scored 11 straight points to get the deficit down to seven points at 54-47.
That is when Duggins put a dagger into the heart of the Penguins with a dramatic, arching 3-pointer, that got the lead back into double digits to stay at 57-47.
Wood thought that the success the Raiders have had against Youngstown State motivated them in this game as they tried to come back.
“This team has a lot of pride and we have been playing each other for long time now. Since I have been here those guys have never won in the Nutter Center and they came in with something to prove today. They gave it a good shot but we stuck in, hung in, played good defense and got the win,” explained Wood.
Aside from Wood, Todd Brown scored 16 points and Jordan Pleiman pulled down 11 rebounds for the Raiders.
To start the game the Raiders jumped out to a 14-2 lead as four different players scored to get the ball rolling. But after that the Raiders only out-scored Youngstown State by a point the rest of the half as Humphrey scored nine points to enable the Penguins to pretty much trade baskets with Wright State the remainder of the half.
The only other Penguin in double figures was Roberts with 10 points.
*Wright State is 3-3 when Dayton Daily News beat writer Marc Katz wears a light colored shirt. The Raiders are 9-4 when he wears a dark colored shirt. Tonight………………..it was a light yellow shirt.
*Wright State leads the all-time series 27-6. This win was the 7th in a row for the Raiders.
*Youngstown State’s next game is January 29th at Loyola at 8 p. m.
*Wright State’s next game is January 22nd at Loyola at 2 p. m.