FAIRBORN — When the Wright State men’s basketball team traveled to Detroit on Jan. 21, WSU junior guard and leading scorer Julius Mays was not in uniform while resting an injured Achilles tendon. The Raiders lost that game 69-53, and Mays returned to score 33 points against Illinois-Chicago the next game.
But Mays has faced a tougher challenge in the second half of the Horizon League season, as opponents have continued to focus more on him.
Mays, who averages 14 points, including 15.8 points in league games, scored 16 points Wednesday against Detroit in a 71-55 WSU loss.
“They looked like they did the last time, using pressure and speeding you,” Mays said.
He was also 7-of-8 from the free-throw line Wednesday, continuing a standout season at the line. He entered the game second in the Horizon League in free-throw shooting, and he improved to 83.1 percent (108-of-130) this season. Earlier this season, he set a WSU record and tied the league mark with 19 free throws (out of 20) against Illinois-Chicago.
Last at home: The Raiders played their final regular-season home game, finishing with a record of 9-7 at the Nutter Center, including 5-4 in Horizon League games. The 3,565 in attendance gave the Raiders an average attendance of 3,903 in 16 home games.
Seeds No. 3-6 host first-round Horizon League tournament games, but WSU fell to eighth place on Wednesday, two games behind sixth place with two games remaining.
Next season’s home schedule is not completed. The only announced nonconference home game is Miami University, and WSU will travel to Cincinnati, Hofstra and Idaho.
Around the Horizon League: Second-place Cleveland State lost its third straight game on Tuesday, dropping an 86-84 defeat at Wisconsin-Milwaukee to fall 1.5 games behind first-place Valparaiso, which topped Illinois-Chicago on Tuesday.
With two games remaining, Valparaiso is in control to receive the league’s No. 1 seed and host at least the quarterfinals and semifinals of the league tournament March 2-3. The tournament final is hosted by the highest remaining seed on March 6.
With CSU’s recent losses, Butler and Detroit have pulled within a half-game of the Vikings for second place.
The top two seeds receive two byes into the semifinals of the league tournament. Seeds Nos. 3-6 host seeds Nos. 7-10 in first round games on Tuesday, Feb. 28.
Stats: Detroit outrebounded WSU 35-22, including 22-11 in the second half. ... WSU shot 50 percent in the first half and 25 percent in the second.
Etc.: WSU freshman Kendall Griffin made his second 3-pointer of the season and first field goal since the season’s third game with 16:13 left in the first half. He totaled 20 points entering Wednesday, and he finished with three points in 18 minutes.