The Wright State men’s basketball team takes its nine-game winning streak on the road to close the regular season this weekend with a pair of contests at Northern Kentucky. Friday’s tip is set for 6 p.m., with a Saturday start time of 5 p.m.
Both games will be streamed on ESPN3, and Raider fans can also follow the action by tuning in to WRZX 106.5 FM, where Chris Collins and Jim Brown will have all the play-by-play on the radio.
Following their sweep over Milwaukee, the Raiders remain in second place in the Horizon League standings and Championship seeding. The 2021 Horizon League Championship will see the top four teams in the regular season earn a bye into the quarterfinals and host a home game on Tuesday, March 2, with the winners advancing to the semifinals on March 8 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The semifinal games will be on ESPNU and ESPN2. The Horizon League Championship is set for March 9 at 7 p.m. on either ESPN or ESPN2. The first round and quarterfinals will be on ESPN+.
Last time out, Wright State ran its winning streak to nine with a sweep of Milwaukee last weekend, winning the opener 92-81 before a 92-82 victory on Saturday. Friday night, Loudon Love finished with a team-leading 21 points to pace five double-digit scorers. Tanner Holden turned in 17 points while Grant Basile had 15 points of his own. Jaylon Hall added 14 points off the bench and Trey Calvin was the final Raider in double digits, finishing the night with 10 points, all in the second half. On Saturday, Love led the Raider offense, turning in 29 points, including 18 in the first half, on 11-of-16 shooting overall with 12 rebounds. Hall joined Love with 19 points of his own. Tanner Holden finished with 14 points and nine rebounds and Trey Calvin was the final double-digit scorer, turning in 13 points.
Northern Kentucky has won seven of its last eight games, splitting a pair of games at Green Bay last weekend. NKU enters the weekend fourth in the HL Championship seeding. Wright State and Northern Kentucky have previously met 38 times entering this weekend’s action, with the Raiders winning both matchups last year – a 95-63 January win inside the Nutter Center and a 64-62 road victory in February to clinch the HL regular season title. The Raiders Raiders hold a 26-12 advantage in the series. The first-ever meeting came Dec. 6, 1972, a 91-87 Raider win at Northern Kentucky.
THE NORSE SIDE
In the last five years, NKU has been incredibly tough at BB&T Arena, boasting a 59-12 (.831) record at home since 2016-17. Marques Warrick has won six Horizon League Freshman of the Week honors after earning the award on Feb. 8 and is second on the team in scoring on the season at 15.3 ppg. Since the start of league play, Warrick has elevated his scoring efforts to 16.9 ppg. Five Norse that saw action in at least 25 games last year return to the lineup in 2020-21 – Trevon Faulkner, Adrian Nelson, Bryson Langdon, Paul Djoko and Adham Eleeda – and seven new faces joined the roster this year.
Saturday’s win over Milwaukee was Wright State’s ninth-straight victory, and the Raiders are making a habit of stringing together wins under Scott Nagy. The Raiders’ nine-game winning streak matches the longest in the Horizon League this season and is also the second-longest in the program’s Division I era with the 2006-07 team. The 2006-07 team, which knocked off Butler in the tourney finals to earn an NCAA berth, also won nine in a row. The Raiders won eight straight games last year from Dec. 12, 2019-Jan. 10, 2020, and also won eight straight from Dec. 22, 2017-Jan. 18, 2018. The Raiders will go into this weekend’s series at Northern Kentucky with a chance to tie their program record for most consecutive Horizon League wins, which is 11 set by the 2007-08 team.
Wright State jumped two spots to No. 7 in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll, released Feb. 15. This is the Raiders’ highest ranking in the poll in the last two seasons. Horizon League foe Cleveland State also received votes this week. The Raiders opened the 2020-21 season at No. 20 in the listing’s preseason poll on November 23. Wright State climbed as high as 10th overall in the poll on three occasions last year and was in every weekly ranking during the 2019-20 campaign.
ASSOCIATED PRESS ATTENTION
Wright State saw its name on the latest Associated Press men’s basketball poll, announced on Feb. 15, receiving votes in the national poll for the first time this season. The Raiders also received votes in the AP Poll on February 10, 2020 and February 17, 2020.
THE OTHER TOP 25
Wright State is also climbing the charts in ‘The Other Top 25’ poll, published by SB Nation Mid-Major Madness. The Raiders are ranked No. 17 om the latest poll, released Feb. 15, moving up three spots from last week.
As of Wednesday, Loudon Love enters this weekend’s contests ranked 4th nationally in total rebounds with 215 total boards through 21 games, while he is also ranked 20th in the nation with his 10.2 rebounds/game average. Love also has recorded 10 double-doubles so far this season, a mark that is tied for the 10th-most in the country. Grant Basile’s 62.4 percent field goal percentage is the 10th-best nationally and leads the Horizon League. As of Wednesday, Wright State is 2nd in the country with 893 total rebounds, 3rd nationally in total rebounds per game, averaging 42.52, and is No. 2 nationally in team defensive rebounds/game at 30.62 per.
COURTESY WRIGHT STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS