Jerran Young’s acrobatics help WSU soar past Central State in exhibition
The men’s basketball team used a second-half scoring surge to pull past Central State in a 78-56 exhibition win at the Nutter Center on Friday.
Junior forward AJ Pacher led the team with 16 points and eight rebounds, and looked every bit the go-to post player Head Coach Billy Donlon wants. But it was the play of newcomer Jerran Young, a junior forward from Texas’ McLennan Community College, which ignited the Raiders and the Nutter Center crowd.
Young threw down two highlight reel dunks on his way to a six point, five rebound game. As the team adjusts to the loss of last season’s leading scorer Julius Mays (transfer to Kentucky), Young’s athleticism on the wing and ability to attack the basket could help improve an anemic offense that struggled to score last season.
As Young skied to the rim, the Raiders rebounded from a sluggish first half which saw CSU take a 22-15 lead. With the half-time score deadlocked at 27, WSU came out of the locker room intent on finally putting away a pesky Marauder team that upset the Raiders during last year’s exhibition.
The Raiders didn’t just put CSU away—they ran the Marauders out of the building.
After taking a 37-35 lead early in the second half, WSU went on a 13-0 run and never looked back. The lead grew as large as 26 points in the last moments of the game before CSU closed the gap with four unanswered points.
But it was too little, too late and the Raiders left with momentum heading into this Friday’s season opener at Idaho.
WSU found that second half scoring punch in a variety of ways.
Junior guard Matt Vest, who battled his share of ups-and-downs in his first two years at WSU, looked to put those struggles behind him and dropped 11 points.
Off the bench, newcomers Miles Dixon, a junior guard from Texas’ Blinn Community College, and freshman forward JT Yoho paced the Raiders with a combined 22 points. Dixon added 12 of those points and looks to be a top reserve for Donlon this season.
Though starting point guard Reggie Arceneaux had a quiet night by his standards—five points and four rebounds—his deft passing led to nine assists. The 5’9″ guard’s play making skills and vision found open shooters, and culminated with 53.1 percent shooting from the Raiders in the second half.
WSU scorched the nets after intermission and Arceneaux was the catalyst for that fire.
For Donlon and his squad, beating CSU in such dominant fashion is the kind of start the team needs heading into the season. Picked to finish last in the Horizon League, the Raiders will need more nights like Friday in order to keep pace in the conference.
Don’t put it past them.