Raiders vs. NKU Men’s Basketball Jan. 24 | Photo by Soham Parikh | The Wright State Guardian
Wright State University (WSU) Men’s Basketball hoped to turn their 1-5 record around at the start of conference play where they took down Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne (IPFW) but lost to Cleveland State (CSU).
It looked like the Raiders had thrown their problems from earlier in the season aside in their 86-73 win over the Mastodons, but similar problems came up once again in their game against the Vikings, with CSU taking the win 85-75.
Unnecessary turnovers for WSU as well as a lack of depth and consistency in their offense have affected the team all year. While those issues largely vanished against IPFW, the Vikings capitalized on the Raiders’ weaknesses.
Winning the conference opener
Some of the biggest differences in the 13-point win over the Mastodons had to do with freshman center AJ Braun.
With four regular starters returning this year in Tanner Holden, Grant Basile, Trey Calvin, and Tim Finke, it was obvious who four of the starters would be. But a few different players have found their way into the fifth spot this year.
Finke only put in five this game, but Braun stepped up with 17 points. A decent enough defense for the Raiders held out the win.
If Braun had scored his average of 7.33 PPG, the result could have been a much closer game and even an IPFW win, especially with WSU only scoring nine points from bench players to their opponent’s 16.
Can’t close in Cleveland
The consistent play from CSU is what won them the Horizon League tournament last season, and is what won them the game on Saturday by 10. The loss proves more than anything that depth and consistency are what the Raiders need to win, and what they currently lack.
Calvin can drop a career-high 28 and Basile can net a double-double, but if five Vikings score double-digit points there is nothing the Raiders can do.
The WSU bench contributed a total of six points of the total 75, whereas CSU’s bench had 37 points, over six times what the Raiders were able to score.
While Finke seemed to find his shot back a little bit in this one, a full-court press from the Vikings had Holden struggling throughout the game, unable to find a rhythm and missing shots in the paint he normally would find with no issue.
Overall, for the Raiders to be a dominant force in the HL this year, they need to find consistency in their offense from both their starters and across their bench.