DAYTON – It took until the 9:31 mark of the second half for Wright State to finally grab the lead for good, but once the Raiders got the lead they turned on the jets to pull away from the pesky Cleveland State Vikings 68-55 to get their 20th win of the year.
At the half the Raiders led by six at 33-27. But Cleveland State (8-19, 2-12 HL) came out strong as Joe Davis hit drove to the basket then put in a lay up and Vaughn Duggins fouled him. He hit the foul shot to cut the lead to three points at 33-30.
Wright State’s Drew Burleson hit a lay up and then the Vikings’ J’Nathan Bullock hit a 3-pointer to get the deficit down to two points.
“This team (Cleveland State) is very aggressive defensively and offensively. They are going to make runs. Just like the first game when we got up and then they made their run,” said Wright State’s DaShaun Wood. “The game is about a set of runs. It is all about who can stop their run from being the longest.”
At the 12:23 mark Cleveland State’s Patrick Tatham hit 3-pointer and the
Vikings had a two point lead which was their largest lead of the second half.
Tatham rarely shoots a 3-pointer and when Wright State Coach Brad Brownell saw it go in he thought it might be a long night.
But Wright State’s Todd Brown who scored nine points in the first half, rolled up his sleeves and went to work. In addition to the five points he had in the second half already, he hit a jumper and two 3-pointers that finally put the Vikings away and led all scorers with 22 points.
Now before you say the Raiders came out flat and they were not ready to play Brownell pointed out that Wright State (20-8, 13-2 HL) had a large lead halfway through half.
“Some people are going to wonder if we were ready to play. We were ready to play. We came out and we had an 11 point lead in the middle of the first half. I don’t think you do that if you are not ready,” stated Brownell. “Unfortunately Cleveland State is a team with great spurtability. They sometimes dig themselves a hole and then, boom, boom, boom, they make two or three 3-pointers back to back and they are right back in the game.”
Early in the first half the Vikings jumped out to a five point lead at 11-6 with 13:40 left. Then the Raiders dug in, made some stops and went on a 14-1 run to a 20-12 lead.
The lead for Wright State got up to the 11 points mentioned by Coach Brownell but a 3-pointer and a jumper by Davis got the lead down to six points at the half.
For the Vikings it was their fifth straight loss but veteran Cleveland State Coach Gary Waters felt his team hard against a very good Wright State team that featured DaShaun Wood.
“They are playing good basketball, I have to give them credit, they are doing some good things and they are going to their people. I thought Wood did a good job. He wasn’t scoring but he found other people. That shows you leadership and how good he is,” said a tired Waters. “I thought we played hard and I told them that in the locker room, I just don’t think we played smart.”
Wood scored below is average of 19.3 ppg with just 14 points, but he had six assists and no turnovers. Burleson also put in 13 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
The Vikings shot 42.3 percent (22-50) for the game including 24 percent (6-25) from 3-point land compared with the Wright State’s 44 percent (23-47) for the game and 43.8 percent (7-16) from 3-point land.
The Raiders also shot an outstanding 93.8 percent (15-16) from the foul line.
For the Vikings Tatham and Davis had 12 points and Victor Morris had 10 points.
*Wright State leads the all-time series 24-22.
*Wright State students put Valentine Day cards on all the seats of the Cleveland State bench. No word as to if any of the guys in the WSU student section secured dates with any of the CSU players.
*Still plenty of room on the bandwagon--the 10,827 fans who packed the Nutt House on Saturday against Butler must not have been too impressed with the Raiders because tonight’s game attracted just 4781.
*On finger action—Veteran Dayton Daily News Columnist Tom Archdeacon types with just one finger. He has typed thousands of columns during his career, all with one finger. He is always the last writer finished after a game. He says it has severed him well for 33 years and he plans to change. In case of injury to his typing finger he says he has another typing finger he holds in reserve.
*Cleveland State’s team plays at Cal State Northridge on Saturday at 10 p. m. in the Bracket Buster game.
*Wright State plays at home against Cal State Fullerton on Saturday at 8 pm in the Bracket Busters.