Raiders try to return to normalcy after clinching NCAA tourney bid

After a week of intense basketball, an energetic celebration following a 74-57 win in the Horizon League championship game and a rowdy four-hour bus ride home, one would think the first order of business for the Wright State players when they arrived back on campus at 2:45 a.m. Wednesday would be to get some sleep.

Instead, they fired up the DVR.

“We got back to the apartment and these guys put the game on,” junior Mark Hughes said, nodding toward senior Grant Benzinger and freshman Loudon Love during a press conference Thursday afternoon at the Setzer Pavilion.

“I knew I had class, so I couldn’t stay up,” Hughes added. “I went to sleep about 3:15. But some of them stayed up and watched the whole game again. I don’t know what time they got to bed.”

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The reason the Raiders rolled out of Detroit late Tuesday night after winning the title rather that Wednesday morning was so the players wouldn’t have to miss another day of classes.

But rather than an exhausting experience, going back to class was an exciting one for the players on a small campus where everyone knows who they are and what they accomplished.

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“I sit in the back of class, so I walked in and sat down and tried not to draw to much attention,” Love said before being interrupted by coach Scott Nagy.

“You’re supposed to sit in front,” he said.

“People were turning around congratulating me,” Love said. “It’s a great feeling on campus because it’s a whole community that’s part of it.”

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All of the players and most of the students on campus were in elementary or middle school the last time Wright State made the NCAA tournament in 2007.

But there are faculty members who remember it well.

“I was walking in with the teacher and she was telling me about the last time we won a championship in 2007, and how great it was for the campus and all the publicity we got,” Hughes said. “She told me I was doing a good job, so that was pretty nice. Everyone came up to me patting me on the back, telling me ‘congrats’ and stuff.”

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Nagy told the players after Tuesday night’s win that was going to happen, and it would be important for them to gather themselves and show humility and that it would be his job “to bring them back down to earth.”

Thursday morning that process began.

“I got after them a little bit in practice (Thursday) morning, just to get them going again,” Nagy said. “It’s back to normal. It has to be back to normal. There’s going to be enough that’s going to be abnormal about this that when we get in practice and we do the other things, it has to be normal.”

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