HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky – The Wright State men’s basketball team clinched its first outright Horizon League regular season championship in program history on Friday night with a 64-62 road victory at Northern Kentucky in front of over 6,700 and a national audience on ESPNU.
The victory also locked up the Raiders (25-6, 15-3 HL) as the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Horizon League Championship. Wright State will now have a double-bye in the tournament, which begins on March 3, and will play the lowest remaining seed at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 9 on ESPNU inside the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Friday night, three Raiders finished in double figures scoring, led by Loudon Love’s 20-point, 14-rebound double-double. Love got the Wright State scoring started early and often, tallying 13 of the Raiders’ first 16 points. Bill Wampler also ended the night with a double-double, finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds – including 10 defensive boards.
Cole Gentry was the final Raider in double figures scoring, tallying 12 points – all in the second half – while his two free throws with 12 seconds remaining clinched the title.
Seven different Raiders contributed to the scoring column, while seven Wright State players recorded 13 or more minutes, including four – Wampler, Love, Gentry and Tanner Holden – with 31-plus minutes of action.
Wright State led for over 37 minutes on Friday night, including the final 34 minutes of action, as the Raiders pushed a 36-29 halftime lead up to 11 in the first two minutes of the second half. Northern Kentucky chipped away at the Raider advantage over the course of the second half and the Wright State lead was down to four points when Gentry hit back-to-back three pointers on ensuing possessions with 5:21 and then with 3:23 remaining to push the lead back to seven down the stretch.
The Raiders finished the night shooting 39 percent (22-of-56) after connecting at a 48 percent rate in the first half, while the Wright State defense held Northern Kentucky to a 34 percent shooting night (21-for-62). The two teams combined for just nine three-point baskets (Wright State: 4-16 / NKU: 5-27), while the Raiders went 16-of-28 (57 percent) from the free throw line and Northern Kentucky had a 15-for-22 mark (68 percent).
Northern Kentucky had two players finish with double-digit scoring nights, led by Jalen Tate’s game-high 24 points and also had 15 from Dantez Walton. Both finished with nine rebounds.