Men’s basketball looks for 2-0 start against Eastern Illinois
The men’s basketball team continues their early season road trip this week as they take on the Eastern Illinois Panthers out of the Ohio Valley Conference Tuesday evening.
Panthers’ first-year Head Coach Jay Spoonhour is still searching for his first victory in Division I after a 76-53 season-opening loss to Bradley.
The Panthers struggled against Bradley defensively, allowing the Braves to shoot nearly 58 percent for the game and only 34 percent themselves. The Panthers were also outrebounded by a margin of ten.
While Wright State Head Coach Billy Donlon and his staff watched game film on EIU, Donlon says learning how the Panthers play “will be a challenge.”
“They have a new head coach and they have a lot of new guys on their roster,” Donlon said. “So there’s not a whole lot you can go with from last year.”
But Donlon expects the Panthers to cut to the basket often on set plays.
“They run an offense called The Swing, made famous by Bo Ryan, who’s the head coach at Wisconsin,” Donlon said. “They’re also going to pressure us defensively and change defenses like Idaho.”
Against Bradley, the Panthers were led by Morris Woods, who made eight out of 10 from the free throw line, and three-point specialist Alex Austin, who scored 13 points.
“Morris is a really good driver and Alex is a good three-point shooter. Those guys had really good games against Bradley,” Donlon said.
The recent Ohio High School Volleyball Championships, hosted annually at the Nutter Center, has forced the Raiders to open each of Donlon’s three seasons at WSU on the road. But Donlon thinks playing on the road early could benefit his team come March.
“There’s no coach in the country who would say that he wants to play five of his first six away from his home site, but do I think some long term gain could come from dealing with that adversity? Absolutely,” Donlon said.
Junior Cole Darling, who paced the Raiders offense last Friday with 18 points against Idaho, doesn’t see the early season traveling as an issue for the team.
“This one’s a little closer, so it’ll be a little easier,” Darling said. “We’ll be prepared and physically we’ll be fine.”
Darling credited a healthy mindset to his performance against Idaho and hopes to keep that mentality going forward.
“I’ve just got to keep my mindset of being in attack mode,” Darling said. “I had a mindset of going in and saying ‘we’re the better team.’”
Tipoff is set for 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. The game can be heard on 100.3 WBZI, as well as www.myclassiccountry.com. A free video stream of the game can be found at www.ovcdigitalnetwork.com.