Raiders using Loyola win to prepare for weekend in Wisconsin
Earlier this season in Chicago, Wright State trailed Loyola nearly the entire game until the Raiders rallied and pulled out the victory. Monday night in Fairborn, WSU pulled off another dramatic comeback victory.
Junior Cole Darling led the Raiders with 17 points on 8-13 shooting to go with a team high six rebounds in the winning effort. Junior Jerran Young also scored in double-figures with 11 points.
Sophomore Kendall Griffin may have been the team’s most valuable player that night. Griffin only scored eight points on 2-3 shooting, but dished out seven assists with only one turnover in 36 minutes of work.
After his performance WSU head coach Billy Donlon called Griffin a “silent assassin.”
“You play a game like that and you have seven assists, one turnover and guard the other team’s best player—incredible performance,” Donlon said.
Loyola jumped out early and led for nearly the entire game. Donlon praised Loyola head coach Porter Moser for having the better game plan.
“In the first half on our defense, we were outclassed because their offensive plan was phenomenal and I didn’t do a very good job,” Donlon said.
Donlon credited his players for adjusting to a new game plan after going into halftime down 34-22.
“I told the guys at halftime the defensive game plan was not the right one,” Donlon said. “Every year in practices, we talk about there are probably four or five games you play where the plan wasn’t right and you got to be willing to adjust and you practice those things. Tonight they did a really, really good job. The kids did an unbelievable job to win.”
The most lopsided statistic in the box score was points off turnovers, where the Raiders scored 31 points off 24 Rambler turnovers.
Donlon said the turnover differential was the reason for the victory.
“Turnovers were great,” Donlon said. “They won us the game. I’m a huge turnover guy. We’re plus 11 in the turnover category, we’re plus one on the offensive rebounds—that’s 12 extra possessions.”
When WSU wasn’t forcing Loyola to turn the ball over, the Ramblers shot lights out. Loyola went 11-19 in the first half for nearly 58 percent and ending the evening shooting 18-36 for 50 percent. But WSU did hold Loyola’s leading scorer, Ben Averkamp, to eight points and three rebounds. Prior to the game, Averkamp was averaging 15.6 points and nearly seven rebounds.
The victory ended WSU’s three-game losing streak after defeats at Youngstown State and losses at home to UIC and Detroit. WSU’s record now stands 15-8 and with a 6-4 conference record, which is good enough for a third place tie in the Horizon League.
Next up for the Raiders is a road trip to Wisconsin to face Green Bay on Feb. 7 and Milwaukee on Feb. 9.