Dayton – The fans attending the Loyola-Wright State game came to see the main event, a match-up of two of the better teams in the Horizon League.
The under card was a match-up of two number fives, probably the two best players in the Horizon League. It was Loyola’s Blake Schlib versus Wright State’s DeShaun Wood.
Wright State won the main event decisively 81-55, more on that later.
Wood won the match-up of the fives, decisively by going 12-17 from the field to score a game-high 32 points to Schlib’s 3-10 from the field to score eight points.
Wood did everything. He drove the lane, hit a couple of 3-pointers and was perfect from the line. After only scoring 12 points the last two games, he stepped up to lead the Raiders to their strongest game yet this season.
“Sometimes you just get in a zone, the basket looks real big and that’s what happened tonight. My teammates put me in a position to get those shots and they fell,” said an excited Wood.
At the half Wright State (10-7, 3-1 HL) led by seven at 37-30. The Raiders put the game away during the next six minutes as they went on a 17-2 run to go up 54-32.
Wood said that a strong start in the second half was the key to keeping the Ramblers at bay.
“Loyola is a very offensive team they could get a quick couple of threes and be right back in the game. We wanted to win the first five minutes of the second half. We won the first five and it carried over to the rest of the second half,” explained Wood.
Wright State’s Drew Burleson who took only one shot in the first half came back to score 11 points in the second half. Coming into this game he needed just nine points to become the 26th Raider to score 1000 points. He got the 1000th point on a 3-pointer at the 2:47 mark to put the Raiders up by 24 at 79-55.
Burleson seemed relieved to finally break the 1000 point barrier after failing to do it his last two games.
“I try to let the game come to me a lot of times. I don’t like to force things. I don’t care I just wanted to get it,” said a beaming Burleson. “I was aware of it and just wanted to get it off my back. I want to thank Jordan (Pleiman) for getting that forth foul. I don’t know if I would have been going back in.”
For Loyola (11-6, 3-2) it was a long night as Wright State’s tough defense held them to 35.3 percent (18-51) shooting night. From 3-point land they shot just 16.7 percent (2-12).
“We got really handled in the second half. That is about as nicely as I can put it. We got beaten to every loose ball in the second half. We got taken out of everything we do,” said Loyola Coach Jim Whitesell. “We tried all sorts of different things on Wood and not one of them was effective.”
After the pasting at Butler last Saturday Wright State Coach Brad Brownell thought that the last two hard practices set the tone for this win and the Raiders hot shooting that resulted them shooting 56.4 percent (31-55).
“I think we had two very tough days of practice. It is neat when you do that as a coach for the kids to see the rewards from that. It doesn’t always show up in this business, said Brownell. “We were really ready and active defensively.
The Ramblers were led by Majak Kou with 15 points. Leon Young scored 12 points and J. R. Blount put in 10 points.
For the Raiders in addition to Wood and Burleson, Todd Brown scored 11 points and Vaughn Duggins scored 10 points.
*Among the three NBA scouts in attendance was former Miami basketball player, coach and athletic director Darrel Hedric who was here as a scout for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Utah Jazz were represented by former Nebraska, Robert Morris and Duquesne Coach Danny Nee. Hedric said they were here to watch Schlib, but that Wood was the best player on the court. It was just too bad he was so short.
*Wright State had the old politically incorrect Viking Raider mascot back from retirement for the game. At half time Wright State unveiled a new wolf mascot that left some of fans their gasping as it was uglier than the wolf it replaced. When all three Raider mascots stood together at half court it was evident that the Raider mascots have been going down hill each time they introduce a new one.
*Loyola leads the all-time series 14-12.
*Loyola’s next game is at UIC on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
*Wright State’s next game is Saturday versus Green Bay at 7 p.m.