DAYTON – The Wright State men’s basketball team battled back to within four points on four occasions late in the second half on Saturday night, but the Raiders could not overcome a slow start as they fell 85-77 to Cleveland State in Horizon League action.
Wright State (11-10, 4-6 Horizon) trailed by double digits in the first half and as many as 22 early in the second 20 minutes before the second half push got underway down the stretch. A pair of Brandon Noel free throws at the 12:57 mark kickstarted a 16-0 Raider run as they held Cleveland State (12-9, 7-3 Horizon) to a 0-of-6 mark from the field over that stretch and Wright State pulled to within four with 9:17 to play as the visitors were forced into a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Cleveland State answered with the next four points for breathing room before a five-point Raider run trimmed the deficit to four again with six minutes to play. After both sides traded baskets, Cleveland State used a Raider turnover and missed shot and a couple baskets of its own to push the margin back to eight points with 4:22 remaining. A pair of Trey Calvin free throws again pulled the Raiders to within four with 1:39 to go, but Cleveland State connected on 9-of-12 free throws over the final minute and change as the Raiders were 2-of-5 from the floor trying to complete the comeback.
Calvin’s 24 points were a game-high as he went 9-of-11 from the free throw line on the way to his 16th double figure scoring game of the season, while Noel added 16 points and a team-leading six rebounds. Tim Finke was the final Raider in double figures, finishing with 11 points thanks in part to a pair of second half three-pointers as part of the 16-point second half scoring run.
Wright State finished the night shooting 48 percent from the floor (25-52) while Cleveland State used a 70 percent first half shooting mark to end with a 59 percent (31-53) clip from the floor as both sides were 43 percent (6-14) from three-point range. The Raiders were 17-of-18 from the free throw line in the second half and were 91 percent from the stripe overall (21-23) as Cleveland State connected at just 57 percent (17-30) from the stripe.
Cleveland State forced the Raiders into 12 of their 17 turnovers in the first half as the visitors recorded 21 total points off those turnovers and had a 12-2 advantage in fast break scoring. The visitors won the battle on the boards 31-27 and outscored the Raiders in the paint 38-30.
Wright State remains at home next week, first welcoming Milwaukee to the Nutter Center for a Thursday night matchup before the Raiders take on Green Bay next Saturday night as part of Homecoming at Wright State.
LAST TIME OUT
Wright State scored 10 of the first 14 points in the second half to cut into the deficit and had a frantic comeback push in the closing minutes, but the Raiders couldn’t dig all the way back as they fell 88-80 to Purdue Fort Wayne. Trey Calvin’s 26 points led all scorers as he added five assists, while Alex Huibregtse and Andrew Welage each had 10 points off the bench. Brandon Noel finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season, and Horizon League-leading fifth in League play, as he pulled down 10 of his rebounds on the defensive glass.
THE VIKING AGE
Cleveland State is 11-9 overall this season with a 6-3 HL mark. The Vikings lost Thursday at NKU, snapping what had been a three-game winning streak. This is the first of two meetings this season between Wright State and Cleveland State, and first since the two met in the Horizon League Championship semifinals last March in Indianapolis, a Raider win.
Wright State has won 12 of the last 17 contests in the series overall, which is the longest series all-time in Raider history. The Raiders and Vikings have met 80 times previously, with Wright State coming away with 43 wins. The first-ever meeting came Feb. 12, 1972, a Cleveland State 72-62 win in Cleveland. The first matchup in Dayton came Jan. 21, 1974, a 69-45 Raider win (third meeting overall).
-Cleveland State is 11-9 overall under first-year head coach Daniyal Robinson with a 6-3 mark at home and a 5-6 record to date away from Cleveland.
-The Vikings are holding opponents to an average of 64.6 points per game, which is second in the Horizon League. CSU ranks second in opponent field goal percentage, at .412, and ranks third in opponent three-point percentage, holding opposing teams to just 31-percent from long range.
ADD ‘EM UP
Wright State’s Saturday night contest against Cleveland State will add to the longest series all-time in Raider history:
Wright State most-played opponents:
1) Cleveland State – 80 meetings (43 Raider wins) (0 meetings in 2022-23)
2) Green Bay – 70 meetings (37 Raider wins) (1 meeting in 2022-23)
3) Milwaukee – 69 meetings (37 Raider wins) (1 meeting in 2022-23)
4) UIC – 66 meetings (36 Raider wins)
5) Detroit Mercy – 66 meetings (38 Raider wins) (1 meeting in 2022-23)
5) Youngstown State – 66 meetings (50 Raider wins) (1 meeting in 2022-23)
COMING OF AGE
Since the calendar flipped to January, Brandon Noel is averaging a double-double in six contests while shooting 68 percent on his way to 18.7 points/game and 13.2 rebounds/game marks against Horizon League foes. For the season, Noel is averaging 13.9 points per contest, a mark that jumps to 17.0 points per game against HL competition as he’s averaging a double-double in HL play with his 10.6 rebounds per contest as well.
COURTESY WRIGHT STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS