Raiders beat NKU for share of regular season title

Sports

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky – The Wright State men’s basketball team defeated Northern Kentucky 77-71 on the road Saturday night, clinching at least a share of the Horizon League regular season championship for the third consecutive season in the process.

Despite the pandemic-shortened season, the Raiders (18-5 overall, 16-4 HL) set a new program record for league wins with Saturday’s victory, along with tying the mark for the second-most victories in Horizon League history, joining Valparaiso (2015-16), Green Bay (1995-96) and Butler (2007-08).

In addition, Loudon Love became the winningest player in the program’s Division I era, having been a part of 89 wins to date.

Tied at 63-all with 4:48 remaining, Tanner Holden connected on an old-fashioned three-point play to give the Raiders the lead and started a 14-7 run to close the night. During the stretch, Wright State was 12-of-15 from the free throw line while holding Northern Kentucky to just 2-of-7 shooting from the floor over the same period.

Wright State finished the night with four players in double figures, paced by Grant Basile’s 21 points, including a stretch where he scored 10 consecutive Raider points early in the second half. Basile finished with a 7-of-13 shooting line, including a pair of three-point baskets, and was 5-of-8 from the free throw stripe while adding nine rebounds.

Love tallied his 12th double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds, adding a pair of key blocks in the final minutes of play. Love closes the regular season with double-doubles in three straight games, and hit the mark in six of the final seven games overall, adding in a nine rebound performance as well.

Holden also finished with 18 points, adding six rebounds, while Tim Finke had 10 points and eight rebounds of his own.

Leading by three at the halftime break, Wright State saw Northern Kentucky tie things up with the first basket of the second half before going on a 12-7 run behind 10 points from Basile to take a 49-44 advantage. The margin remained at two possessions from there, with the hosts taking a three-point lead at the 9:24 mark. Trailing by four with just over six minutes remaining, the Raiders used a quick, 9-0 run, started by Love before seven straight points from Holden, to take a 68-63 lead and gain control.

Wright State finished the night shooting 44 percent (27-of-62) from the floor while hitting seven of their 21 three-point attempts, including five in the first half. Northern Kentucky was 44 percent (28-of-63) form the floor and was also 7-of-21 from three-point range, with six of its coming in the second half.

The difference came at the free throw line, where the Raiders were 16-of-21 (76 percent) overall on the night, including 14-of-18 in the second half, while Northern Kentucky attempted just eight shots from the stripe (hitting all of them). Wright State finished with a 41-32 advantage on the glass, including 27 boards off the defensive glass.

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