FAIRBORN, Ohio – The Wright State men’s basketball team closed out the 2019 calendar year with an 82-70 home victory on Monday night against Milwaukee to improve to 2-0 in Horizon League action.
The Raiders (12-3, 2-0 HL) now set out on a four-game road trip, beginning on Friday night at Oakland in a nationally broadcast game on ESPNU. The trip will also see games against Detroit Mercy, IUPUI and UIC before they return home to the Nutter Center on January 16.
Monday night, Wright State saw five players finish with double-digit scoring games for the first time this season, led by Bill Wampler’s game-high 17 points. Wampler finished the night 6-of-8 from the floor overall and was 5-of-6 from three-point range. Loudon Love was right behind Wampler with 16 points of his own, finishing just shy of a double-double with nine rebounds – all coming on the defensive glass.
Tanner Holden tallied 14 points and Cole Gentry finished with 12 points, as both scored 10 of their final totals in the opening 20 minutes. The final Raider to double figures was James Manns, who finished with 11 points, all in the first half, on 4-of-6 shooting with a pair of threes.
Monday night was the 20th anniversary of Wright State’s upset victory over No. 6 Michigan State inside the Nutter Center, and the Raiders won their eighth straight December 30th game and moved to 7-0 at home on December 30 since the win December 30, 1999 against the eventual national champions.
The Raiders were in control most of the night against the Panthers, leading for over 34 total minutes. After a back-and-forth opening 10 minutes, Love threw down a dunk and the ensuing free throw to give Wright State a two-point advantage at 22-20. After Milwaukee responded with a three-pointer on its next possession, Gentry found Jaylon Hall for a three pointer to regain the lead at 25-23 at the 9:13 mark – a lead the Raiders would never relinquish.
A six-point Wright State lead at the break and at the under-16 second half media timeout, the Panthers remained in striking distance throughout the half, cutting the Raider lead to five on two occasions, before Love again put his mark on the scoring.
In transition off a Milwaukee miss, Hall found a streaking Love who threw down another dunk and was fouled, completing the three-point play with a free throw following the under-eight media timeout. After that timeout, the Raiders closed the night on a 16-8 run, with all the scoring coming from Wampler and Love, while defensively forcing Milwaukee into six turnovers over the same stretch.
After both teams shot well from the floor in the opening 20 minutes (Raiders 64%, Milwaukee 53%), Wright State ended the night connecting at a 54 percent rate (30-of-56) while the Panthers finished at 48 percent (27-of-56).
The difference came from deep, as the Raiders hit 11-of-19 three-pointers and held Milwaukee to just 5-of-19 from three-point range and 0-of-8 from deep in the second half. Both teams hit 11 free throws (Wright State 11-19, Milwaukee 11-17) and Wright State won the battle on the boards 37-32. The Raiders forced 16 Milwaukee turnovers and converted those into 21 points.
Milwaukee saw four players finish in double figures scoring, led by Darius Roy’s 13 points. DeAndre Abram tallied 12 points, Te’Jon Lucas scored 11 and Josh Thomas had 10 for the Panthers.