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Donlon: Raiders need to get gritty again

The Wright State men’s basketball team had Thursday off from practice. The Raiders will get back to work today with hopes of salvaging something from this three-game homestand with a victory at 7 p.m. Monday against Loyola.

It’s hard to call any game in the Horizon League a must-win because going into Thursday there were five teams, including the Raiders, within one or two games of first-place Valparaiso. But the Raiders need to do something fast to stop a promising season from fading away.

“They’re all big, but we don’t want to lose three in a row at home,” coach Billy Donlon said. “It’s an important game, no question about it.”

The Raiders fell to 14-8 and 5-4 in the Horizon League with an 83-76 loss to Detroit on Wednesday at the Nutter Center. They have lost three games in a row for the first time this season. Prior to this slump, they hadn’t lost two games in a row.

“I told them (after the game), we’re going to get back to playing Wright State basketball,” Donlon said. “The tough guys are going to play. We’re going to get back to playing tough basketball. That’s how we win. Sometimes you have early success like we had, and you forget how you win. We’ve done that. We won by being grittier than everyone else, but it’s a long race. We’ve proven we can go on the road and play very well and win. We’ve got to defend our homecourt Monday against a very good Loyola team.”

Donlon didn’t place the blame for Wednesday’s loss on the officiating. The Raiders, after all, shot themselves out of the game with a five and a half minute scoreless drought late in the game. But Donlon got hit with a technical foul for talking to the officials in the second half, though he said his only comment was, “You’re allowing (Detroit star) Ray McCallum to talk to you, and I can’t talk to you.”

Kendall Griffin claimed not to be bothered by the calls. The Raiders were whistled for three fouls on one possession not long before the technical was issued.

“That’s not our job to worry about how the refs are calling games,” Griffin said. “We’ve got to play through that stuff and adjust to how the game was being called. I think for the most part in the first half it was called pretty even. We have to make adjustments, and I don’t think we adjusted really well.”

Detroit leads the conference in scoring for a reason, and it showed it Wednesday, scoring inside and out. The Titans didn’t even need their fast-break game, which netted them only four points. They shot 47 percent from 3-point range and 54 percent from the field overall.

Recruit update: Grant Evans, who verbally committed to the Raiders last year and is the first recruit in the class of 2014, is averaging 17.4 points per game and shooting 44 percent from 3-point range. He’s a junior at Wapahani High School in Selma, Ind.

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