DAYTON – Career nights from Alex Huibregtse and Andrew Welage paced the Wright State men’s basketball team to a 93-86 Thursday night victory over Milwaukee as the Raiders completed the season sweep over the Panthers.
The Raiders look to keep the momentum going on Saturday night when they welcome Green Bay to the Nutter Center for a 7 p.m. tipoff on Homecoming at Wright State.
Making his first start of the season and second of his collegiate career, Huibregtse tallied 16 of his career-best 25 points in the second half while Welage notched 15 of his 19 points, a career-high for him, in the opening 20 minutes. The pair combined to hit eight of Wright State’s 10 three-pointers, while Trey Calvin (21 points) and AJ Braun (12 points) also finished in double figures scoring.
Wright State (12-10, 5-6 Horizon) locked down defensively in the first half, holding Milwaukee (14-7, 8-3 Horizon) to just 38 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes as the Raiders raced out to a 47-26 halftime lead as Braun, Calvin and Welage all had double figures scoring in the first half.
Tight in the first 10 minutes, the Raiders rolled off a 15-2 scoring run behind six points from Braun and a combined nine from the duo of Huibregtse and Welage as Wright State forced Milwaukee into 0-of-3 scoring over the five-minute run while forcing the visiting Panthers into six turnovers. Up 15 with a minute to play in the first half, the Raiders tallied six quick points in the closing 20 seconds thanks to Milwaukee foul and technical that resulted in free throws from Calvin and Braun before a jumper from Huibregtse just ahead of the buzzer.
Early in the second half, Wright State pushed the advantage to what turned out to be its largest margin of the night at 24 points and led by 20 with just over six minutes to play before Milwaukee tried to make its push. The visitors cut the lead in half with a 12-2 scoring run over a two-minute stretch as the Raiders led 80-70 at the under-four-minute media timeout. Still a 10-point margin with 2:28 to play, Milwaukee scored eight of nine points to cut the margin to just five at 86-81 with 65 seconds to play, but the Raiders went 7-of-8 from the free throw line in the closing moments to seal the win.
Huibregtse connected on 9-of-15 shots overall and was 5-of-10 from three-point range in his second career start, his first since starting the 2020-21 season-opener against Lake Erie. Welage finished the night shooting 6-of-12 with a 3-of-5 mark from deep, while Braun was an efficient 5-of-9 with 10 of his 12 points coming in the opening half. Calvin did most of his damage at the free throw line, going 10-of-11 from the stripe for nearly half of his scoring. Tim Finke just missed out on the double figure scoring with eight points as he added 10 rebounds, while Brandon Noel had a game-best 11 rebounds despite being held scoreless for the first time in his career.
The Raiders shot 45 percent overall from the floor (29-65) with a 10-of-26 mark from three-point range (39 percent) as they connected on 10 triples for the second time this season. Milwaukee rebounded to shoot 43 percent overall (28-65) while connecting on 10 threes of its own (10-32, 31 percent). The teams combined for 65 free throws, with the Raiders connecting at a 74 percent clip (25-34) while Milwaukee was 20-of-31 (65 percent) at the stripe.
Wright State finished the night forcing Milwaukee into 19 turnovers that the Raiders turned into 30 points, while the Raiders had a 43-39 rebounding edge with 30 defensive boards.
LAST TIME OUT
Wright State 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. Trey 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 to pull back into the contest.
Milwaukee enters Saturday at 14-6 overall and tied atop the Horizon League standings. The Panthers are on a two-game winning streak since falling to the Raiders in overtime back on Jan. 14. Trey Calvin and Brandon Noel each had 23 points in the overtime win, as Calvin scored eight of the Raiders’ nine overtime points and Noel added nine rebounds, while Tim Finke was the third Raider in double figures with his 11 points. The teams have met 69 times overall, with the Raiders holding a 37-32 lead over Milwaukee in the overall series, including wins in eight of the last 10 meetings. The first meeting came back on Jan. 17, 1977 in Milwaukee, a 75-66 Panther win. The first Wright State home game was the following year – a 71-69 Raider win on Feb. 13, 1978.
-Milwaukee is 14-6 overall with an 8-2 mark in Horizon League action. The Panthers are 10-2 at home but just 4-4 away from Milwaukee, with all four road wins coming in HL contests (4-1 overall on the road in HL play).
-Starting Thursday, Milwaukee closes the season with five road games and five home games, with Thursday’s game against the Raiders the first of three straight on the road.
-BJ Freeman was named the Horizon League Player of the Week on Monday after scoring 26 points against Robert Morris last Thursday before career-highs of 30 points and 11 assists at Youngstown State on Saturday.
LONG ROAD TO OVERTIME
Wright State’s overtime win at Milwaukee back on Jan. 14 was the second overtime game of the season for the Raiders, joining the season-opening double-overtime loss to Davidson on Nov. 9, but the first Wright State overtime game on the road since an 81-74 win at Cleveland State on Feb. 22, 2020 in head coach Scott Nagy‘s 500th career coaching victory. Under Nagy, the Raiders have played in nine total overtime games (4-5 record) since the 2016-17 season.
Wright State’s 50.2 overall season shooting percentage to date is ranked tied-4th in the country behind Gonzaga (1, 51.8 percent), Colgate (2, 50.9), Indiana (3, 50.8 percent) and Marquette (50.3).Brandon Noel’s 63.2 percent field goal percentage is tops in the Horizon League and is No. 15 nationally in shooting percentage.
Brandon Noel’s seven double-doubles to date are one off the Horizon League lead, while Noel has tallied a HL-best five double-doubles in League play. Noel has recorded double figures scoring 15 times with five games of 20-plus points. On the glass, he has the seven double-digit rebound games and has five-plus rebounds in 17 contests.
COURTESY WRIGHT STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS