Wright State’s Jerran Young and Kendall Griffin shadowed Oakland’s Travis Bader all night Thursday. Where he went, they went. Maybe they even followed him back to Detroit.
Oakland’s top scorer, known as DarthBader3 on Twitter, didn’t get many open looks, and that’s one reason Wright State beat the Grizzlies 76-64 at the Nutter Center. Bader, who came into the game with 2,001 career points, scored 15 points, seven below his average. He hit 4-of-10 3-pointers, and two of those came in the final 10 minutes when the Raiders had the game in hand.
“What Jerran Young and Kendall Griffin did to Bader was phenomenal,” WSU coach Billy Donlon said. “He made two really hard ones late. He’s a great player, and Greg Kampe’s a great coach. That’s why he’s been there for 31 years. It’s one game down. We’ve got to bounce back quickly and play a good Detroit team.”
Offensive execution: The Raiders hit some 3-pointers early in the first half and then got a little 3-happy, finishing 5-of-17 from long range in the half. They got the ball inside in the second half and shot only six 3-pointers, hitting three.
“We were 0-for-13 from the 3 and 10-of-17 from the free-throw line in our last game,” Donlon said. “(Oakland) really packed it in. You can’t go over to your bench and yell at your kids, ‘Don’t shoot open 3s.’ Then that basket is going to get about 5 inches around.
“The difference in the second half is we stood in the first half. When teams pack it in, you have to move to get them out of position. In the first half, we stood and watched and Oakland didn’t have to think about movement. We moved better in the second half. We did better things with the ball.”
Next game: The Raiders play at Detroit at 2 p.m. Saturday. It will be the Horizon League opener for the Titans (7-8), who are 5-2 at home.
The Titans have had seven games decided by five points or less and lost four. They have two common non-conference opponents with Wright State, losing 64-62 to Bowling Green on Dec. 22 and at South Alabama in their season opener, 74-58 on Nov. 8.
Wright State beat Bowling Green 46-43 and lost 74-70 to South Alabama.
Around the league: Detroit was the only Horizon League team not to play Thursday. All the home teams won their openers.
Milwaukee (11-4) beat Youngstown State (9-7) 82-76. Preseason favorite Green Bay (10-3) won 66-55 over Cleveland State (8-7). Defending champion Valparaiso (9-7) beat Illinois-Chicago (5-10) 87-72.
The league currently ranks 12th out of 33 Division I conferences in the Pomeroy ratings.