Raiders streak snapped at UIC

Sports

CHICAGO – Despite a late-game push over the final four minutes, the Wright State men’s basketball team was unable to dig itself out of an early double-digit hole, as the Raiders fell 76-72 at UIC on Sunday afternoon.

Wright State (15-4 overall, 5-1 HL) now returns home for its next three contests, hosting Cleveland State (Thursday) and Youngstown State (Saturday) in a pair of 7 p.m. games this week at the Nutter Center before a matchup with Northern Kentucky on January 24 that will be nationally broadcast on ESPNU.

Sunday’s loss snapped the Raiders’ eight game winning streak and was the team’s first true-road loss this season. Wright State was one of three remaining teams out of the 353 NCAA Division I basketball programs with at least three road wins and zero road losses entering the day; the weekend started with five teams on that list, as DePaul, South Carolina and the Raiders all fell on the road over the last two days.

Down by 12 points with just under four minutes remaining, Wright State used a 10-0 run to pull within two at 72-70 with 1:13 remaining, but UIC (7-12 overall, 2-4 HL) was 4-of-4 at the free throw line in the final 23 seconds to hold onto the win. The Raiders held UIC scoreless from the floor over the final 4:01, but ended the afternoon hitting just one of their final eight attempts while going 6-of-9 from the free throw line over that stretch.

Four Raiders finished the afternoon in double figures scoring, led by Bill Wampler’s 16 points. Loudon Love (15 points, 11 rebounds), Tanner Holden (14 points; 12 in the second half) and Cole Gentry (13 points) also tallied double-digit totals while eight different Wright State players scored.

Wright State shot 36 percent (24-of-66) from the floor and was 7-of-24 (29 percent) from three-point range while finishing the game at a 61 percent (17-of-28) clip from the free throw line. UIC shot 50 percent (29-of-59) from the floor while hitting only three three-pointers (27 percent) and going 15-of-18 (83 percent) from the free throw stripe.

The Raiders won the battle on the offensive glass (18-11) but were outrebounded 41-39, while UIC had a 46-32 advantage in points in the paint. Wright State forced the Flames into 19 turnovers that resulted in 26 points.

UIC shot 52 percent in the first 20 minutes while Wright State recovered to shoot 44 percent in the half after starting the game just 2-of-6 in the first five minutes. The Raiders responded with a 5-of-6 shooting stretch between the under-12 and under-8 minute media timeouts but were unable to cut into the deficit. After the Flames played the majority of the first half with a multi-possession lead, the Raiders were able to trim the deficit down to three with two minutes remaining in the half on a Gentry three-pointer, but UIC ended the period on a 6-0 run to take a nine-point advantage into the halftime break.

Wright State was unable to cut into the lead in the second half, with UIC pushing out to as much as a 15-point advantage at the 15:48 mark. The teams traded baskets for the majority of the second half with the Raiders never able to pull closer than 10 points, which they did on eight occasions, the last coming to start their final push over the last four minutes.

Despite a late-game push over the final four minutes, the Wright State men’s basketball team was unable to dig itself out of an early double-digit hole, as the Raiders fell 76-72 at UIC on Sunday afternoon.

Wright State (15-4 overall, 5-1 HL) now returns home for its next three contests, hosting Cleveland State (Thursday) and Youngstown State (Saturday) in a pair of 7 p.m. games this week at the Nutter Center before a matchup with Northern Kentucky on January 24 that will be nationally broadcast on ESPNU.

Sunday’s loss snapped the Raiders’ eight game winning streak and was the team’s first true-road loss this season. Wright State was one of three remaining teams out of the 353 NCAA Division I basketball programs with at least three road wins and zero road losses entering the day; the weekend started with five teams on that list, as DePaul, South Carolina and the Raiders all fell on the road over the last two days.

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