Wright State Finally Gets a Win: Tops Toledo
It wasn't pretty unless you liked defense but it broke Wright State's longest losing streak to start a season since joining the ranks of Division I just 21 years ago.
As for Toledo (2-7) it was another dent in first year coach Gene Cross' rebuilding job.
Midway through the first half Wright State's Cory Cooperwood took a feed from Scott Grote and hit a jump shot to put the Raiders up 8-7, a lead they held for the rest of the game.
At halftime Wright State (1-6) held a four-point lead at 20-16.
The Raiders came out and went on an 11-2 run during the first 13 minutes to go up 31-18 and the game was never in doubt after that.
"The first few minutes (of the second half) they smashed us around," said Cross. "They imposed their will upon us, instead of us imposing it on them. When you turn the ball over 26 times it is hard to win,"
The 26 turnovers had a lot to do with the Raiders tight defense. The 26 turnovers were almost twice as many as they had field goals (14). The Raiders' defense held the Rockets to a measly 29.2 percent (14-48) shooting. Normally the Rockets are one of the better shooting teams in the MAC averaging 43.6 percent.
The Raiders shot just 37.7 percent (20-53) which has been a problem for them all year. But tonight the Raiders lived off of their defense and that was enough to get by the Rockets.
Wright State coach Brad Brownell cited defense as the key to wining the game since the offense was still a little sub-par.
"It wasn't pretty, but if you like defense it was pretty," explained Brownell. "It was an outstanding defensive effort."
The Rockets star player, Tyrone Kent took just six shots and made two of them and no Toledo player scored in double figures tonight.
For Wright State, John David Gardner scored 12 points and Ronnie Thomas pulled down 12 rebounds.
-Toledo leads the series 5-4.
-Raider sick bay report...leading scorer Vaughn Duggins had surgery on his ring finger of his right hand on December 4th and hopes to return after the first of the year. Kyle Pressley has a sprained right ankle and did not play tonight. He is listed as day-to-day. Troy Tabler separated his left shoulder in practice and is listed as day-to-day. He did not dress tonight.
-With all the injuries Wright State added Michael Boan from Reynoldsburg, OH as a walk-on. He saw his first action tonight when he came in for the last minute.
-Wright State won the first game ever played against Toledo 67-66 and then lost the second game 75-73 while they were still a Division II power.
-Toledo's next game is at home against Houston on December 20 at 7 p.m.
-Wright State's next game is Friday at Arkansas-Little Rock at 8 p.m.