You never know who’s going to be the star for Wright State, but it’s rarely the same person in consecutive games.
Reggie Arceneaux scored 29 points at Loyola on Jan. 11, and eight days later, it was Cole Darling’s turn to star. He scored 22 points Saturday at Valparaiso, though it wasn’t enough to carry the team to a fifth straight Horizon League victory to start the season.
Valparaiso outscored Wright State 9-2 in the final minute for a 69-63 victory. Ryan Broekhoff, the Horizon League Player of the Year last season, was the difference, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the final minutes.
“Valpo’s a good team,” Darling said. “They’ve got a lot of good seniors. That really helped coming down to the wire, having those smarts, especially Broekhoff. He’s a great player. He really willed them to a win tonight.”
Darling became the first player for Wright State (13-5, 4-1 Horizon League) to score 20 points in three games this season. Arceneaux and Jerran Young have each done that twice. Darling shot 6-of-12 from the field and 10-of-13 at the free-throw line.
“You’ve just got to step up,” Darling said. “That’s why I like our team. Anybody can step up on any night. It just happened to be me on this night.”
Three-point spurt: Valparaiso missed four of its first five 3-pointers in the second half and then hit three in a row.
The Crusaders (15-5, 5-1 Horizon League) made 1-of-6 3-pointers in the first half and 7-of-15 in the second half.
“We wanted them to beat us with the two,” Wright State coach Billy Donlon said. “We came in at the half and said, ‘Keep executing. Don’t get spread.’ We didn’t defend the 3 like we needed to. They had a bunch of wide-open looks in the first five minutes of the second half, and they just didn’t make them. It wasn’t like we guarded it great. We just didn’t trust the game plan in the second half. There were times we did, and we made them score down low and make twos the whole night.”
Reggie’s game: Arceneaux came out hot, hitting two 3-pointers in the first five minutes, picking up right where he left off at Loyola. He had eight of his 14 points in the first half. He also hit two pressure-packed free throws to give the Raiders their final lead, 61-60 with 71 seconds to play.
“I felt good about my game,” he said. “The second half, I was trying to let it come to me. I wasn’t trying to get up too many shots. I was trying to dish the ball out, a couple to Cole, a couple to AJ (Pacher).”
Pacher’s game: Pacher hit 2-of-5 3-pointers in Wright State’s first game of the season at Idaho, but he had missed nine in a row in the games since until he hit one in the first half against Valparaiso. He had all five of his points in the first half.
Senior advantage: Valparaiso has six seniors, Wright State none. The Raiders are the sixth-youngest team in the nation with 15 players with a total of 14 years of college experience.
Road disadvantage: Wins on the road will be hard to come by this season in the Horizon League. Coming into the weekend, the road team had won six times in 21 games.
Valparaiso had three of those wins, winning at Illinois-Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit in three straight games.
The Raiders came into the game 1-0 on the road in league play and 5-4 on the road overall.
On the road: The Raiders’ bus heads to Detroit today. They play the Titans at 7 p.m. Monday.
Detroit played Illinois-Chicago on Saturday night and led by the a somewhat unbelievable score at halftime, 53-14. The Titans ended up winning 98-47, improving to 12-7 and 4-2 in the Horizon League.
Detroit was coming off a 89-88 loss to Valparaiso on Thursday in which it blew a 22-point halftime lead. Detroit has scored 90 or more points three times this season.
Around the league: Green Bay routed Cleveland State 77-50 Saturday afternoon, improving to 10-9 and 4-2 in the Horizon League.
Cleveland State, which upset Detroit 74-62 a week earlier, lost its second straight to the Wisconsin schools. It also lost Thursday 69-57 to Milwaukee. Cleveland State fell to 10-10 and 2-4.
In other Thursday action, Green Bay beat Youngstown State 67-58. Youngstown State fell to 9-8 and 1-3.