Men’s Basketball Team and Coach | Photo by Kelsie Tomlinson | The Wright State Guardian
The first night of Horizon League play did not bring the start to the season that Wright State men’s basketball had hoped for as the Robert Morris Colonials upset the Raiders 59-80 on Thursday night.
Meaning of the loss
The loss was the first time in history that RMU had beaten WSU in men’s basketball.
After the loss, both players and coaches for WSU were impressed with the performance of the Colonials but were disappointed with how the Raider team played in front of its home crowd.
“They were hungry, and we weren’t,” Scott Nagy, head coach for WSU, said. “It was really clear. I’ve not watched one of our teams very often in my career, just, I don’t know [what] the word is, just in terms of being out-hustled and outplayed.”
What went wrong
The season opener going this badly for WSU points to struggles on both sides of the court, but especially defensive issues. Aside from a double-overtime loss to Davidson, this score had the highest points from an opponent all year.
The Colonials shot a 52.5% clip from the field on Thursday night, which all comes down to poor defensive effort on WSU’s part. The Raider team did not track down loose balls like it usually does and left 3-point shots wide open.
The Raiders have averaged 53% shooting so far this season, but struggles on defense diminished the momentum of WSU’s offense, with the team shooting only 41.5% from the floor.
For Keaton Norris, sophomore guard for WSU, some bad practices leading up to the game took WSU out of its flow.
“I think it just started with practice, honestly,” Norris said. “After Thanksgiving break, we didn’t have any good practices. We just can’t have that leading up to big games like these, and it showed out there tonight.”
That momentum translated to all aspects of the game as well, with RMU out-rebounding the Raiders 33-23 and totaling 11 steals to WSU’s 4.
Turn to Sunday
The Raider team might need time to reflect on its opener, but it will not be afforded that luxury. The Youngstown State Penguins will come to the Nutter Center on Sunday, and both WSU and YSU will be hungry for a first conference win.
For senior Tim Finke, difficult losses are a part of the sport. The next few games will show how the Raiders respond to the frustration of losing its conference opener.
“Every team I’ve ever been on, stuff like this has happened,” Finke said. ”It’s just how we’ll respond to it now. That’s the most important thing, we’ve got to get past it.”
The Raiders started off worse last season but still ended up winning the conference tournament. Recovering from these losses means sticking together and remembering there is a long season ahead.
“I think it’s just sticking together, not coming in with our heads down moping about it,” Finke said. “It’s a long season, and I always think back to the previous years, every year stuff happened.”