As the game progressed the Raiders' offense improved, but it was their defense that set the tone for this game as it has in all of their wins this year.
Wright State (3-7) set a new school record holding the Spartans to just 12 first half points, as they held them to just 31.5 percent (17-54) shooting for the game.
Norfolk State jumped out to a 5-0 lead as the Raiders shot bricks. Okay jumped out might be the wrong phrase. It took the Spartans nearly five minutes to get five points on the board as the Raiders defense continued to cause problems for their opponents. Their scoring included a jump shot by Joe Dorsett-Jeffreys at the 17:15 mark and then a 3-pointer by Corey Lyons at the 15:06 mark.
A 3-pointer by Todd Brown with 14:30 left on the clock finally got the Raiders on the board. By the time the Raiders scored again when Gavin Horne hit a 3-pointer to make the score 7-6 Norfolk State, Wright State was just 2-15 in shooting.
After Norfolk State's Tim Zephyr hit a jumper at the 10:11 mark to make the score 9-6 the Spartans would make just one more shot in the half as Wright State outscored them 23-3 in the last 10 minutes of the first half to take a 19-12 lead into halftime.
In the second half it was all Raiders with the only drama being how big Wright State's margin of victory would be. Norfolk State (1-6) tied a number of different presses and defenses as they tried to slow up the Raiders, but Wright State shot 55 percent (11-20) for the half.
Norfolk State coach Anthony Evans tried to mix up his defenses but thought his guys just wore down in the second half.
"We just ran out of gas," explained Evans. We had to press them to get back to within 10 points, but we didn't have anything left after that."
The Raiders seemed to have hit their stride on the defensive end, but their offense is still a work-in-progress. In the previous game Wright State held Wake Forest to 63 points in their 6-53 loss, when the Demon Deacons had scored 80 or more points in their four previous games. Before that they held Arkansas-Little Rock to just 55 points as they beat them 62-55.
"We defended well tonight. We more or less took care of business," said a subdued Wright State coach Brad Brownell. "I think our defense was good the first half and most of the second half. It allowed us to hang in there when we struggled on offense."
Brownell continued, "We do have to finish more plays if we want to beat the good teams. I think we executed okay, but we just have to finish."
As for Norfolk State the Raiders are not the team they really needed to play right now. After scoring 80 points and shooting 53 percent to open their season with a win against Longwood, the Spartans are averaging just 57.8 points and shooting just 39 percent from the floor in their five-game losing streak.
Wright State's Cory Cooperwood led all scorers with 19 points and Lyons with 14 points was leading scorer for the Spartans.
-Norfolk State is 0-7 against teams from the Horizon League. The Spartans are 0-3 against Cleveland State, 0-2, Valparaiso, 0-1 against UIC and 0-1 against Wright State.
-Wright State is the second of nine straight road games for the Spartans that will keep them on the road until they return on January 17th to play Delaware State.
-Norfolk State's next game is on Saturday at Missouri State at 9 p.m.
-Wright State's next game is Saturday in the San Juan Shootout against Oral Roberts at 5:15 p.m.