Wright State rallies to beat UIC in finale


The Horizon League standings said there was nothing on the line when Wright State played UIC in the regular-finale Sunday.

Raiders coach Scott Nagy’s fist pump with teeth clenched indicated otherwise.

The emotional display came after the WSU defense, which was torched for 51 first-half points, came up with a key stop with 11 seconds remaining to secure an 88-81 victory before a crowd of 3,091 at the UIC Pavilion.

“It mattered,” said Nagy, whose Raiders were locked in as the No. 2 seed before tip-off after Northern Kentucky clinched the Horizon League championship earlier in the day.

“If we’re going to step on the floor, it’s going to matter,” Nagy added. “We talked about that, make sure we’re not settling. That’s not how we’re going to operate.”

Follow Jay Morrison on Twitter

Freshman center Loudon Love had game highs with 23 points and 15 rebounds in addition to a career-high five assists, while senior guard Grant Benzinger scored 21 and freshman forward Everett Winchester posted career highs with 18 points and eight rebounds to help Wright State (22-9 overall, 14-4 HL) rally from a 14-point deficit.

“The way things were going it would have been easy to say it doesn’t make any difference in the standings, let’s just get home, and our guys didn’t,” Nagy said. ” I’m really proud of them.”

>> Love honored by Horizon League again

It was a homecoming for Love and sophomore guard Cole Gentry, who are from nearby St. Charles, Ill., and had dozens of friends and family members in attendance.

“I’m sure Cole would tell you the same thing, it’s a great feeling to get the win,” Love said. “But a win or a loss, it’s great to see everyone, especially extended family. Especially this game. Knowing Northern Kentucky won, it was a personal thing for us. We wanted to win. We didn’t show it in the first half, but in the second half we came out and showed it.”

UIC (17-14, 12-6) shot 65.6 percent in the first half, including 71.4 percent from 3-point range to build a 51-43 lead. The 51 points were the most allowed by Wright State in any half this season.

But the Raiders held the Flames to 23.1 percent shooting in the second half and took the lead for good on a Mark Hughes 3-pointer with 3:04 remaining.

>> 5 things to know about WSU’s upset loss at IUPUI

Hughes also scored six of his 11 points in the first minute of the second half to start the comeback, and Winchester helped WSU pull away late with a jumper for an 84-81 lead with 1:07 to go and another that pushed the advantage to 86-81 with 20 ticks to go.

“We didn’t like how we played defensively in the first half,” Winchester said. “We thought coach was going to really get on us, but he just walked in said ‘You know what you did wrong. You know how to fix it. Now fix it.”

As bad as the defense was in the first half, the Raiders were able to stay within reach thanks to Benzinger (16 points) and Love (15 points).

Like Jay Morrison on Facebook

The Flames put four players in double figures, led by Dikembe Disxon’s 19 points, but after hitting five of their first six 3-pointers, they only made 3 of 12 the rest off the way.

Gentry added six points and a career-high four steals as the Raiders scored 21 points off 19 UIC turnovers.

As the No. 2 seed, Wright State will play at 5:30 p.m. Saturday against the winner of Friday’s opening-round game between No. 7 Green Bay and No. 10 Detroit Mercy.

The Raiders swept both teams during the regular season.

If WSU wins its opener, it will have a bye Sunday before playing in Monday’s semifinals.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Reds blanked by Marlins, 6-0
Reds blanked by Marlins, 6-0

The Marlins became the first major league team to draw fewer than 1 million fans at home since the 2004 Montreal Expos, beating the Cincinnati Reds 6-0 Sunday before 13,595 to complete the Miami portion of their schedule in Derek Jeter’s first season as chief executive officer. “Obviously we would like to fill it up every day, but I know...
Newton’s 4 TDs lift Panthers over Bengals
Newton’s 4 TDs lift Panthers over Bengals

Panthers coach Ron Rivera wanted a little something more from his offense, which is why he turned to his old boss Norv Turner as the team’s new coordinator this season. Rivera, who once coached under Turner in San Diego, said he got exactly what he was hoping for Sunday. Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others , Christian McCaffrey...
Game schedule: Week 6 high school football
Game schedule: Week 6 high school football

Oakwood at Brookville, 7 p.m., ABC 22 / FOX 45, Ch. 45.2, Ch. 995 (Spectrum), Ch. 44 (Dish), mytvdayton.com Alter at Cin. Purcell Marian at Cin. Walnut Hills, OhioSportsline.net/ Arcanum at Bethel Bellbrook at Valley View, radio1.gemcitysports.com Bellefontaine at Kenton Ridge Benjamin Logan at Indian Lake Butler at Greenville Carroll at Badin...
Wittenberg Tigers blast Kenyon 45-3 to improve to 3-0
Wittenberg Tigers blast Kenyon 45-3 to improve to 3-0

Wittenberg University junior Nick Kendall knew he had to pay homage to the players who came before him. After finishing a 75-yard touchdown run, Kendall ran over the alumni section in attendance for Champions Night where he gave high-fives to multiple former Tigers football players. Kendall finished with 113 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries as...
Report: Ohio State discussing ‘coach-in-waiting’ scenario with Ryan Day
Report: Ohio State discussing ‘coach-in-waiting’ scenario with Ryan Day

Ryan Day returned to his role as Ohio State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Saturday after leading the Buckeyes to a 3-0 start.  He was filling in for head coach Urban Meyer, who was suspended after a university investigation found he mismanaged the employment of receivers coach Zach Smith.  >>GAME STORY: Ohio State crushes...
More Stories