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Wright State Raiders Men’s Basketball: A look back at 25-win season and Horizon League Regular Season Championship

Wright State Raiders 2019-20 Team

The 2019-20 Wright State men’s basketball season was a year full of program-bests but was left with thoughts of what was left on the court after the abrupt ending to the season.

The Raiders won 25 games, setting the new program standard for most wins in a regular season in the Division I Era, and won 15 Horizon League games, also a new program-best, on the way to Wright State’s first outright Horizon League regular season title in program history. Additionally, the team’s six road Horizon League victories were the most in program history and the Raiders were a perfect 9-0 at home in league play on the way to a 14-2 overall home mark at the Nutter Center.

The team was set to continue its season in the NIT before NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors announced the cancelations of all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships, including the 2020 National Invitation Tournament, on March 12 due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.

“I told our guys I don’t want anything to take away from the historic season that we had and the good light that it brought on the University and athletic department,” head coach Scott Nagy said. “We owe a lot to our seniors, who have set the foundation for our program, and we feel that they have left it in a better place than when they arrived.”

Wright State was rewarded for its regular season play, however, taking home seven Horizon League yearly honors, headlined by Player of the Year selection Loudon Love and Co-Coach of the Year honors for Nagy, which were also the most in Wright State program history. Nagy’s selection made him the first coach in Horizon League history to be named the Horizon League Coach of the Year in three straight seasons, while Love was the first Wright State player to earn the Horizon League’s top individual honor since DeShaun Wood following the 2006-2007 season.

The Raiders were the only team to have a member on the All-Horizon League first, second and third team, led by Love’s Player of the Year selection. Love averaged a double-double during Horizon League play with 17.7 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, while Second Team selection Bill Wampler was right behind him in terms of points averaging 17.2 per game while also leading the HL with a 47.4 three-point shooting percentage. Cole Gentry made the All-League third team after averaging 11.0 points per game and in League play finished tops in assist-to-turnover ratio.

Additionally, the Horizon League’s recognition of Grant Basile and Tanner Holden to the All-Freshman Team marked the first time in Wright State history that the Raiders had two players earn the Horizon League’s All-Freshman honors.

Wright State was one of 23 teams in the country to finish the season with 25 or more victories. The Raiders did not suffer a true road loss until mid-January, starting the year 6-0 in true road games – the most true road wins to open the season in the program’s Division I history – and were one of the final five teams (out of the 353 NCAA Division I basketball programs) nationally to lose a true road game.

As a team, Wright State finished the season inside the Top 20 nationally in five national categories, including turning in the seventh-highest scoring average in the country at 80.6 points per game. The Raiders pulled down the 13th-most rebounds nationally, grabbing 1,279 boards for an average of 39.97 rebounds per game, which finished as the No. 17 mark in the country. The Raiders’ 27.81 defensive rebounds per game average is No. 33 nationally and the 12.16 offensive rebounds per game average is No. 27 nationally.

Wright State’s 741 free throw attempts were the 13th-most in the NCAA this season, while the 499 free throws made were the 40th-most nationally. Overall, Wright State finished the year inside the top 50 in 11 different statistical categories as a team and was in the Top 100 nationally in 20 statistical categories.

Individually, the Raiders had four players finish the year averaging double-figure scoring totals, led by Love’s 15.9 pointers/game average. He ended the campaign averaging just shy of a double-double for the season, turning in double digit scoring performances in 21 of his 26 regular season games played, including 17 in league play. Love finished with 11 double-double performances this season, including eight in league play, and will enter the 2020-21 campaign just 26 rebounds shy of becoming program’s all-time leading rebounder and surpassing Bill Edwards’ 907 total boards.

Love’s 3.85 offensive rebounds per game average finished No. 10th in the country, while his 9.7 rebounds/game average was No. 38 nationally and his 261 total rebounds were the 86th-most in the country.

Offensively, Love became the 33rd member of Wright State’s 1,000 Point Club during non-conference play and goes into the offseason with 1,393 career points in three seasons, which is No. 15 on Wright State’s all-time scoring list. Next on the list is a pair of Raiders from the program’s early years – Bob Grote (1972–76) at No. 14 with 1,406 career points and Lyle Falknor (1972–76) at No. 13 with 1,418 career points.

Joining Love in reaching the 1,000-career point mark were seniors Gentry and Wampler. Wampler entered the Gulf Coast Showcase two points shy of the mark and left no doubt as he poured in what would turn out to be a season-high 27 points to lead the Raiders past Weber State on Nov. 25. He ends his career with 1,006 career points scored at Wright State and 1,414 career collegiate points. Gentry became the third player to reach the mark with a three-pointer in overtime at Cleveland State on Feb. 22 as part of a 16-point performance. He finished his career with 53 double-figure scoring games, including seven games with 20 or more points. Gentry tallied 1,018 career points, with all but 33 of them coming as a Raider.

The untimely finish to the season did have a bright ending this week, as the Raiders earned three National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 12 honors on Monday, March 23, led by Nagy being named the District 12 Coach of the Year. Love earned All-District 12 First Team recognition and Wampler garnered Second Team honors.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF WRIGHT STATE ATHLETICS

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