Raiders easily dispatch the Lions on opening night
It might have been against a Division III opponent but Wright State will take an 82-49 win over Mount St. Joseph Sunday and a 1-0 record into its contest against Georgetown Wednesday evening.
The Raiders’ effort Sunday was a far cry from their 80-76 exhibition loss to Findlay on Nov. 1, a Division II opponent that gave WSU more than it could handle.
“The last game, our program stands for a few things and it has nothing to do with putting the ball in the basket and I felt we got away from that against Findlay,” Donlon said. “Effort plays, toughness plays, when a teammate falls running and picking him up… Those are the things why we got beat against Findlay. Those were the things we got back.”
A relieved A.J. Pacher sat before the media following Sunday’s contest after leading the Raiders with 21 points.
“Ah, this feels a little better,” he said.
Pacher’s effort sparked the Raiders early on. He shot a perfect 9-for-9 from the field and he scored all 21 points in the first half.
“We really locked in this week,” Pacher said. “Coach Donlon gave us a piece of humble pie. We went back to working every day, multiple workouts a day and trying to get better and it obviously proved.”
The Raiders stayed out of foul trouble in Sunday’s contest by only committing eight personals. In the exhibition contest against Findlay, WSU had four players foul out and the team tallied 30 fouls.
“Our defensive game plan was completely different,” Raider J.T. Yoho said after scoring 17 points Sunday. “We just played great team defense and in practice, coach Donlon has been calling the touchy fouls so we’re getting more used to it.”
WSU guard Miles Dixon returned from a shoulder injury and played a solid 22 minutes for the Raiders. Forward Jerran Young shook off the rust from his preseason ankle injury notching a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds after only playing seven minutes against Findlay.
Kendall Griffin missed the exhibition against Findlay due to an injury. He was in the starting lineup Sunday and had six points in 28 minutes of action.
“I mean it is great having guys back,” Pacher said. “Not just with their talent, but they’re literally like a brother out there. Having Miles back, have Kendall back, it just means the world.”
WSU also shot the ball much better, making 56.6 percent of its shots from the field.
“I thought they played unselfish,” Donlon said. “I don’t think we took a lot of bad or selfish shots and that is always the sign of a team that is coming together.”
The Raiders led at halftime 43-24 and dominated the lane. WSU outscored MSJ 26-2 in the paint and out rebounded the Lions 15-9 in the first half. Pacher was in double figures in the first five minutes of the contest.
“We set a tone early,” Donlon said. “We scored early inside and then it was the first time we were up seven early in the game. Then we relaxed a little and they made us pay.”
Despite the return of Griffin and Dixon, the Raiders were without guard Reggie Arceneaux who had a hamstring injury. His status is day-to-day.