Wright State 68 - Valparaiso 58
DAYTON – When two offensively challenged basketball teams shoot under 40 percent for the game one of the teams is going to win ugly and tonight it was Wright State. They played a little less ugly than Valparaiso as they won 68-58 in front of 5618 fans at the Ervin J. Nutter Center.
But it took a lot of effort for the Raiders to pull this win out.
With Valpo up 28-27 at halftime the Raider’s defense gave up a 3-pointer to Urule Igbavboa to go down by four points at 31-27. Less than a minute later Igbavaboa put in a layup to increase the Crusader lead to 33-27.
At the 18:33 mark Wright State’s Cory Cooperwood hit a jump shot to make it 33-29 and that got the Raiders on a roll. Over the next 12 minutes Wright State went on a 23-8 run which put them up by 11 points at 50-39 with 7:53 remaining.
“Their defense tightened and our defense gave up some baskets we normally don’t give up. We struggled to get a basket during that run,” explained Valparaiso coach Homer Drew.
Valparaiso (6-17, 3-9 HL) was able to cut the lead to five points when De’Andre Haskins hit a 3-pointer with 4:51 left in the game, then 31 seconds later he hit a jumper to make the score 56-51 and that is as close as the Crusaders got the rest of the game.
Several times late in the second half Wright State (14-9, 8-4 HL) threatened to blow the game open but then couldn’t make critical free throws, which allowed Valpo to keep the deficit in the single digits. For the game Wright State shot just 54.8 percent (23-42) from the free throw line. A lot of those free throws were late in the game as Valpo tried to stop the clock.
Even though Wright State shot the ball well, Wright State coach Brad Brownell felt that the defense and decision making kept things together for Wright State in the second half.
He said, “Thankfully our defense was good enough to bail us out when we weren’t making free throws. I think we made some better decisions and we made more aggressive plays, got ourselves better shots and kids finished.”
With 32 seconds left Wright State’s Todd Brown made one of two free throws to give the Raiders their largest lead at 13 points to make it 68-55. Valpo’s Logan Jones made a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left to cut it to the final score to a 10 point deficit for the Crusaders.
In the first half Wright State got good looks but could only manage a pathetic 25 percent (6-24) shooting percentage. The Raiders hung with Valpo by making five three pointers and going 10-14 from the free throw line.
While Wright State was experiencing shooting woes the Crusaders shot a respectable 45.5 percent (10-22), they made three 3-pointers in 10 attempts and made five free throws in seven attempts in the first half.
Todd Brown scored 18 of his 20 points in the first half to keep the Raiders in the game. In the second half his legs cramped up and it hampered what could have been a monster night.
“I was feeling it was going to be a Kolbe night. It felt good when I was shooting before the game and they just went in,” said Brown after the game.
Igbavboa led all scorers with 21 points.
-Homer Drew needs just one more win to be the 33rd coach in Division I to reach 600 victories.
-Sick Bay……………Wright State’s John David Gardner played just six minutes in the first half picking up three assists before coming out with pain in his hip from an ongoing injury that he has had for two weeks.
-Wright State leads the all-time series 7-5.
-Valparaiso’s next game is on Saturday against Detroit at 3 p.m.
-Wright State’s next game is at home against Butler at 7 p.m.