Press defense sparks WSU to win over Milwaukee
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It was a night to celebrate the 1983 Division II national champions and the “spirit of the ’83 team” helped guide the WSU men’s basketball team to a 53-51 conference win over Milwaukee.
The Raiders kept the score close all game long not trailing by more than six and after a late three-pointer by Cole Darling and a big defensive stand to end the game, WSU improved to 11-4 overall, 2-0 in Horizon League play, and 7-0 this season at the Nutter Center.
Reggie Arceneaux and Cole Darling led the Raider scoring attack with 15 and 14 points while Jerran Young contributed with seven rebounds – five of which came on the offensive end.
“Down the stretch he (Jerran) came up huge with big offensive rebounds and layups,” Darling said. “Something possessed him.”
Wright State pulled a page out of Milwaukee’s playbook from a decade ago pressing the Panthers full court all game and Wright State head coach Billy Donlon says that’s what won the game tonight.
“Last year’s team could never have pressed their way into a win,” Donlon said. “This year’s team can press their way into a win. The press won us the game.”
Saturday night’s game felt eerily similar to earlier in the season when the Raiders lost at Bowling Green. Like the loss at BGSU, Wright State didn’t get to the free throw line in the first half and were outshot at the charity stripe by the Panthers who went 18-25 on foul shots.
With the victory the Raiders are tied for first place in the Horizon League alongside 2-0 Detroit. The loss was Milwaukee’s sixth in their last seven games and pushes their record to 4-12 overall and 0-2 in the league.
While tonight the team honored the 1983 national championship team with special throwback uniforms the admittedly superstitious Donlon said he’ll leave it up to the team to see if WSU will continue wearing the jerseys throughout the season.
“I’ll leave it up to the fellas,” Donlon said. “Maybe we’ll bring them out again. They’re better than the first time we wore the black uniforms.”
The Raiders will continue their homestand Wednesday, January 9 against conference foe Cleveland State. Tipoff will be at 7:00 p.m. and students can receive two free tickets at Gate 9 of the Nutter Center starting at 6:00 p.m. the day of the game. The game can also be viewed online for free at www.horizonleaguenetwork.com