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July 2020
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Evans’ Second Half Outburst Carries Wright State Over Butler


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WSU fans celebrate the upset win

Fairborn, Ohio — N’Gai Evans scored 20 of his career-high 26 points in the second half to lead Wright State to a 69-64 win over Butler Sunday night. The Raiders (12-7, 5-2) bounced back from a 71-60 home loss to Valparaiso on Friday night, a game in which they made four of 22 field goals in the second half. The Bulldogs (13-6, 5-2) fell into a second place tie in the conference with the Raiders and Cleveland State, a game behind Valparaiso.

WSU fans show their spirit

WSU students storm the court after win

With Butler down 67-64, Shelvin Mack’s three-point attempt rattled out, and Troy Tabler’s two free throws with 2.6 seconds left sealed the win, as the Raiders closed with an 8-2 run in the last 57 seconds.  The Bulldogs were still alive thanks to the Raiders missing three out of four free throws leading up to Mack’s miss.

Nice crowd of 7,603 sparked the Raiders (WSU)

Raiders and Bulldogs jump it up

Something had to give when the Horizon League’s best offense (Butler) and the best defense (Wright State) clashed at Wright State’s Nutter Center, and the Raiders’ defense held the Bulldogs to 10 points under their average. Butler entered the game averaging 83 points in their last three games. In their two trips to Ohio this year, they have scored only 113 points, 49 in a loss at Xavier.

Ervin J. Nutter Center at Wright State

How close was the game? When Butler took a four point lead with 5:43 left, the two teams had played the previous 26 1/2 minutes in which the biggest lead was three points. The second half alone had 11 lead changes and six ties.

The Bulldogs learned on their big men, sophomore Andrew Smith with 15 and senior Matt Howard with 12 — the 12 points being the most he recorded in his four games at Nutter Center. Mack, another main cog in the Bulldogs’ national runner-up team from last year, added 12.

N'Gai Evans the star of the game for Wright State

Evans, who missed the first three games of the season with a knee injury, continued his hot streak and now has 118 points in his last seven games. He was 8 of 10 from the floor, and 10 of 12 from the line, adding four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Cooper Land added 13 and Vaughn Duggins 10 for the Raiders, and Tabler led all players with five assists.


* The Bulldogs lead the series 23-16 and has won seven of the past eight games, including all six over the past two seasons prior to Sunday’s game. The Bulldogs beat the Raiders in the Horizon League Championship game last March 9th, 70-45 and won 62-57 in the semifinals on March 7, 2009. The last WSU win in the series prior to Sunday’s game, was a 43-42 conquest at the Nutter Center on December 8, 2007 as Will Graham made a driving layup with 1:45  to play in the game.

* Butler is fifth nationally in fewest turnovers per game at 10.8 and is 20th in free throw percentage at .752. Matt Howard is 70th in scoring at 17.6 points per game and 71st in free throw percentage at .849.

* Butler shot 48.8% from the field, 72.2% from the free throw line and outscored the Raiders in bench scoring 13-8.


* Troy Tabler is 39th in Division I in free throw percentage at .878.

* As a team, the Raiders rank 16th in scoring defense at 59 points per game, 21st in fewest turnovers per game at 11.4 and 31st in free throw percentage of .745. The 21 of 21 foul shooting performance against Oakland on November 23 is the second-best so far this season, only trailing the 22 of 22 by Bethune-Cookman against Jacksonville on December 30.

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