Dixon’s “miracle” shot downs Detroit, sends Raiders to Horizon League final
In the Gospel of Matthew, there’s a verse that says “the last will be first and the first will be last.” The Wright State men’s basketball team is one win away from making that a reality.
Before the season began, WSU was picked to finish dead last in the Horizon League. After Saturday’s stunning 56-54 victory over the Detroit Titans, the Raiders are one victory from winning the league tournament and playing in the NCAA Tournament.
The hero of the game for WSU was Miles Dixon, who hit a turnaround, fadeaway buzzer-beater on a broken play to send the Raiders to the championship game. Dixon called his shot a “miracle.”
Dixon said the play drawn up during the final timeout with 14 seconds remaining was supposed to go to freshman JT Yoho. But Detroit’s defense took away that option, forcing Dixon to create the miracle play on his own.
“There’s never a dull moment in our league,” Donlon said. “We’re very fortunate to have found a way to win this game.”
Donlon’s Raiders (21-11) slowed down the tempo of the game all night long, often passing up open looks from three early in the shot clock and forcing Detroit to guard WSU for 35 seconds at a time. Donlon called the pace a “tournament style” offense and it worked in a tournament setting tonight.
“They (Detroit) haven’t won a game where they scored less than 70 points all year,” Donlon said. “We limited their transition by not going to the offensive glass. It was an ugly offensive game. Miles just went and made a play.”
That pace, coupled with ferocious defense that held Horizon League Player of the Year Ray McCallum Jr. to five points on 1-7 shooting from the field, stifled a Detroit offense which averaged 78.1 points per game.
“They made the plays and we didn’t,” Detroit head coach Ray McCallum Sr. said. “We didn’t really have a rhythm all night.”
What Detroit did do well tonight was forcing WSU into turnovers. The Raiders committed 17 turnovers which lead to 23 Titan points. The bench, lead by players like Dixon, outscored Detroit’s bench 29-1.
Coach McCallum said after the loss he hopes his team will receive a bid to the NIT Tournament, and believes his team can win in a tournament setting.
WSU junior Jerran Young said the opportunity to play for a spot in the NCAA Tournament is a dream he’s had growing up. He and his teammates are going to have that opportunity this Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m. on ESPN against Valparaiso.
“It’s like a dream come true,” Young said. “I never thought I would be in this position.”
While that verse from the Book of Matthew is still two halves of basketball away from coming true, WSU is one game away from winning their first conference tournament since 2007.