DAYTON – Another close game, another win for the Raiders, as Wright State holds on to beat Loyola 55-51
That makes nine straight wins by the Raiders and every win has been by single digits. Wright State (18-6, 10-4 HL) has only played three games that were decided by double digits this year.
Unfortunately for Loyola (9-15, 5-9 HL) that makes 12 straight games decided by less than 10 points and only four of them were wins.
Tonight the Raiders jumped out to an 11-0 lead as Will Graham contributed a jumper and a layup, Vaughn Duggins did the same and Todd Brown sunk a 3-pointer.
But hold on, the Ramblers went on a 22-4 run to go up by seven at 22-15 at the 5:12 mark led by a couple of long-range 3-pointers by Justin Cerasoli.
With 1:34 left in the half Wright State’s Cooper Land sunk a 3-pointer to pull the Raiders to within three points at 30-27.
The two teams battled to a draw and that was the final score going into halftime.
In the second half there were four ties and 12 lead changes.
Wright State took the lead for good at the 2:15 mark when Will Graham made a layup to put the Raiders up by one at 48-47.
Will Graham a player known more for defense and assists had a big game as he scored 17 points by slashing and driving to the basket.
Duggins praised Graham after the game saying, “We are not going to have a good game from every one. I think it is the best I have seen him play. He came out with great energy. They just couldn’t guard him tonight.”
Wright State coach Brad Brownell thought this may have been Graham’s best game.
“He rebounded the ball well. Will goes to the basket real well; he has just a little extra burst of energy. He covers a lot of ground on his dribble,” said Brownell.
Duggins led all scorers with 20 points and Leon Young led Loyola with 13 points.
Although Loyola took 55 shots to Wright State’s 40 shots, the Raiders out-shot the Ramblers 50 percent (20-40) to 36.4 percent (20-55), from 3-point land 27.5 percent (6-16) to 20 percent (4-20) and from the free throw line 81.8 percent (9-11) to 43.8 percent (7-16).
Loyola coach Jim Whitesell said his team just couldn’t get the big basket when they needed it.
“We couldn’t get the basket or two when we needed it. Give them (Wright State) credit they made those shots and we didn’t help ourselves on the Free throw lines,” explained a tired Whitesell.
Brownell thought that his team’s ability to bounce back after several Loyola runs was key to his team pulling out another win.
” I am proud of the way we finished the game again. Our defense was outstanding in the second half,” said Brownell. “I was proud of our guy’s ability to withstand a bad spell or two and to not give into it. A couple of times we were back on our heels and we were able to come back.”
-Referee Rick Hartzell was waiting before the game for the cheerleaders to finish up on the court. He spotted a little tot sitting in the courtside seats with his dad. He walked over and handed him ball to hold for a minute. Right before tip-off he motioned for the little guy to throw him the ball. He got it out to him on a single bounce and the kid had a neat memory from the game.
-Wright State leads that all-time series 15-14.
-Loyola’s next game is on Saturday at Detroit at 2:30 p.m.
-Wright State’s next game is Saturday at home against UIC at 7 p. m.