Big shots by South Alabama and missed shots at the rim by Wright State added up to a 74-70 loss for the Raiders in their final game in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic on Saturday.
The Raiders (3-3) never trailed by more than seven points in the second half, but they could not get over the hump. They never tied the game or took the lead in the second half.
“Give those guys credit,” Wright State coach Billy Donlon said. “They made a couple of 3s in the first half. One of them hit the front of the rim twice and bounced up and in. Another was a 30-footer at the end of the shot clock. Those guys made some big shots. We just haven’t been able to play 40 minutes of really good defense.”
The Raiders cut South Alabama’s lead to 62-60 on two free throws by Kendall Griffin with 4:47 to play. They had three shots on ensuing possessions to tie the game, but Jerran Young missed a layup and Reggie Arceneaux and Miles Dixon missed jump shots.
“We missed three or four layups right at the rim,” Donlon said. “Those are plays on the road you’ve got to make.”
AJ Pacher led the Raiders with 18 points. He made all seven of his field-goal attempts. Cole Darling and Dixon each scored 11. Griffin and Arceneaux had eight points each.
South Alabama, coached by former Butler assistant Matthew Graves, improved to 3-2. It made 10-of-20 3-pointers and out-rebounded the Raiders 35-26. Augustine Rubit led the Jaguars with 23 points.
South Alabama led by as many as 12 points in the first half and had a 39-31 advantage at halftime.
“Winning here would have been like winning a high-level road game in our conference,” Donlon said. “It’s disappointing. We played DePaul and South Alabama on the road in very hotly-contested contests and walked away empty both times. As a coach, I can’t let the final result mislead me on where we are as a team. I think we’re improving.”