Wisconsin hasn’t been kind to Wright State in recent years.
Eight of the last 11 times the Raiders have played at Green Bay and Milwaukee in a three-day span, they’ve lost both games. The other three times, they split the two games. Wright State swept the Phoenix and Panthers at the Nutter Center in three days in January, but it’s going to be tall order to repeat the task on the road this week.
“I do think our team has played well on the road,” Wright State coach Billy Donlon said. “When you look at our road games, we’ve had very few blowouts, if any. I hope that doesn’t jinx anything. Green Bay is excellent at home. We’ve got to be ready to go.”
Today’s 8 p.m. game at Green Bay is a battle for third place. Each team is 6-4, one game back of Detroit and two behind Valparaiso.
The Raiders (15-8 overall) rallied from 13 points down with 6:34 to play to beat Loyola 62-59 on Monday. Cole Darling and Jerran Young led the offensive effort with 17 and 11 points, respectively.
The question of who is Wright State’s go-to player changes by the week, but for now it’s Darling, who has scored in double figures in six of the last seven games.
“One of the reasons we’re shooting almost 50 percent from the field from the two is because Cole Darling is finishing plays,” Donlon said. “We’re doing a good job of getting the ball in the paint. Cole’s been phenomenal. We’ll need his game on this trip.”
Young has shown flashes of being Wright State’s best offensive player, but often his minutes are limited by foul trouble. He has committed 60 fouls, second on the team to Tavares Sledge’s 63, and Young has played 46 fewer minutes than Sledge.
“I played Jerran 12 minutes (against Loyola),” Donlon said. “I would have loved to have played him 20, but he fouled out. He plays so hard. We just have to get him to play smarter. Some of the fouls are ticky-tacky.”
Wright State had to have the win over Loyola to restore some confidence after a three-game losing streak, especially with tonight’s game and Saturday’s 8 p.m. game at Milwaukee looming.
“It was a must-win in order for us to have a chance to maybe win the league and certainly to stay in the top half of the league,” Donlon said. “You can’t lose three straight home games. We still set ourselves back. If you win one out of two against UIC or Detroit, you’re 7-3 and tied for second. If you win all your home games, you’re tied for first right now. You’ve got to defend your homecourt. We didn’t do it. We’ve got to put it behind us. It’s history. We’ve got two tough road games.”
Green Bay (12-11) returns home to the Resch Center after four straight road games in 11 days with losses to Valparaiso and Illinois-Chicago and wins over Milwaukee and Loyola.
Prior to that, Green Bay had won four straight home games in 11 days, beating Loyola, UIC, Youngstown and Cleveland State.