DETROIT – The Wright State men’s basketball team advanced to the Horizon League finals after defeating Green Bay 66-54 Monday night at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. WSU will play Northern Kentucky Tuesday night at 7 pm on ESPN for the title. Raider fans can also listen to Chris Collins and Jim Brown on Big 106.5 FM/iHeart app.
The Raiders will play in the League championship game for the second straight season in hopes of becoming the first team to repeat since 2011 when Butler did it and the first tournament number one seed to win it since Valparaiso in 2015.
A game of evenly spread scoring by the Raiders Monday night, Bill Wampler had 18 points while Loudon Love ended with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman Malachi Smith had nine points and six boards with Cole Gentry also pitching in nine points. Alan Vest finished with eight rebounds. WSU shot 36% from the field and outrebounded the Phoenix 40-34, forcing 16 GB turnovers. The Raiders led by 20 points early in the second half and held the advantage for more than 37 minutes of the game.
The Phoenix won the tip and scored immediately. After Parker Ernsthausen made it 2-1, Love hit two free throws for the lead. Love found Ernsthausen under the basket for an easy two. The Raiders led 10-4 at the first media break after Wampler hit a three. GB came out strong after the break to score five unanswered points, but Mark Hughes hit a long three while being fouled but missed the extra basket. WSU held the lead at 15-11 by the second timeout at 10:08. Though the Phoenix tied it at 15, the Raiders scored five straight points to take the advantage 20-15 at the eight-minute timeout. The lead increased to 25-17 as Wampler connected on a three pointer. The Raiders exploded in the final minutes and took a 33-20 lead into the locker room. Wampler led the way with 12 points off four three pointers while Love collected six points and eight boards. WSU outrebounded the Phoenix 24-17.
Wright State scored the first seven points of the half to cause a Green Bay timeout. At 17:10, GB broke the drought with a three pointer. Green Bay cut the lead to five at 41-38 with 12 minutes to go. Vest broke the GB streak with a layup but the Phoenix came right back to score. At the 12-minute break, the Raiders led 46-40. Back-to-back baskets and a three from Ernsthausen gave WSU a 51-43 lead at 7:41. The teams exchanged baskets with WSU holding the 59-50 lead with under five minutes remaining, staying right there for the final media timeout. Wright State won 66-54. The Raiders shot 36% for the final half while Smith put up seven points and Wampler six.
“We were not good defensively tonight, but that was because of Green Bay. Their athletic team made troubles for us. I think we played well on defense, and we made the hustle plays.”
The Raiders will play Northern Kentucky Tuesday night at 7:00 pm eastern on ESPN. NKU defeated Oakland in the other semifinal game Monday night.