- Doug Harris Contributing Writer
Wright State is ranked in the bottom third in the nation in field-goal shooting. Coach Scott Nagy was prepared for that. He figured defense would be the Raiders’ strong suit, and they’ve usually performed well there this year.
But they had no problem making buckets and generating offense in a 98-68 win over Division II Ohio Valley on Tuesday. They made 19-of-25 field goals in the first half (76 percent) and finished 35-of-54 (64.8 percent).
They didn’t look like a team shooting 42.5 percent going into the game, which was better than only 84 of 351 Division I teams.
Five players scored in double figures for the Raiders (5-4) with Jaylon Hall getting 17 points, Louden Love, Grant Benzinger and Mark Hughes 16 and Everett Winchester 14.
Love, a 6-foot-9, 275-pound post, was 7-for-8 from the field. His only miss was a reverse layup that lipped out late in the game.
“The game’s pretty easy when you shoot the ball well,” Nagy said. “I thought we could’ve shot more 3s, but we did a good job throwing the ball in — particularly to Louden, and he finished well for us. We were able to score at the basket a lot.”
Luka Djordjevic and Dylan Harrison had 12 points each to lead Ohio Valley (1-3), which went 2-24 last season and was picked last out of 12 teams in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference preseason poll.
The Raiders went into the game averaging a modest 5.4 three-pointers per game and shooting 31.2 percent from the arc. But they made 10-of-20 against the Scots as Hughes went 4-of-6 (making his first four), Benzinger 4-of-5 and Hall 2-of-5.
“We’ve not been a very good (3-point) shooting team. It’s been a little frustrating,” Nagy said. “But Mark Hughes is a very good shooter, and he was able to get off to a good start. And we were able to get Grant loose.
“Grant’s working hard and trying to get his timing back (after missing preseason practice because of hernia surgery). And it was nice to see Jaylon get going, too.”
The future looks promising. Love, Winchester and Hall are all freshmen, and they combined for 49 points.
“They all played well. We just need to play them more,” Nagy said. “They’re getting more comfortable. They’re not playing nervous. We knew we had to be patient, knowing that by the time we get into the conference, they won’t (play like) freshmen anymore.”
Senior point guard Justin Mitchell and junior center Parker Ernsthausen combined for two points in a 78-60 loss at Western Kentucky on Saturday, but they had a bigger impact against Ohio Valley.
Mitchell had eight points, four rebounds and two assists, while Ernsthausen had four points and two rebounds.
Going for 100
Wright State students get a free pizza if the Raiders score 100 points, and two foul shots by Winchester with 24 seconds to go pushed the total to 98.
But the Scots made sure they wouldn’t surrender triple digits by holding the ball at the top of the key until the buzzer, generating a chorus of boos from the crowd of 3,060.
The Raiders play their last non-conference home game against Kent State at 3 p.m. Saturday. They finish the non-league season with road games against Toledo on Dec. 16, Missouri State on Dec. 19 and Georgia Tech on Dec. 22.
They scheduled seven home games and six road games before Horizon League play.