Men’s Basketball: Raiders return from break
Barring an ice age slamming Fairborn in the next four months, the Raiders will not get another four-day break the rest of the season.
The Wright State men’s basketball team returned to practice Thursday for the first time since its 61-49 victory versus UMKC on Saturday. From now until March, the Raiders are in for the grind of conference play.
“The first practice back is usually difficult,” WSU head coach Billy Donlon said. “Because it is the Christmas holiday, you have just been home with your family, there is a part of you that wouldn’t mind spending another day or two with your family so it might take a minute to get your mind back on business.”
It was the one and only chance for many players to see their families during the season as the Raiders gear up for the start of Horizon League play next Thursday. The only obstacle between now and the start of the conference slate is the Raiders’ home tilt versus Bowling Green State Sunday afternoon.
WSU (7-7) is looking for its first three-game winning streak of the season. The Falcons (6-5) are looking to extend their three-game winning streak after they defeated Detroit from the Horizon League last Sunday.
The first half of the season was tough for a squad that had incredibly high expectations. The Raiders still have not won their first road game of the season. Fortunately for WSU, the squad remains unbeaten at home.
Given the suspension of forward Tavares Sledge and a lot of early-season injuries, Donlon is looking for a rejuvenated squad for the second half of the season. The team is healthy and with Sledge reinstated, the Raiders are at full strength headed into the second half of the year.
“When they went home, I told them to go recharge their batteries,” Donlon said. “Do what you need to do to recharge. I meant that for them to come back with good spirits, having enthusiasm and having a passion for the grind.”
Donlon is expecting a challenge similar to what the Raiders will see in the Horizon League on Sunday. The Falcons enter Sunday’s contest short a player as Chauncey Orr is out for the season after needing shoulder surgery. Orr was expected to be a key player for BGSU this season.
The squad is led by Richaun Holmes who tops the Falcons in scoring and second on the team in rebounding. The 6-foot-8 forward will be a challenge for AJ Pacher and Jerran Young in the post.
“They score inside on the dribble, they post up, and they score off offensive rebounds. They do a lot of things in the paint,” Donlon said. “If you don’t protect your paint, it is going to be a hard game to win.”
The Raiders are 0-1 against Mid-American Conference opponents this season as the Raiders fell at Miami 59-56 on Dec. 15.
“It is a typical physical MAC-Horizon League game which are normally physical slugfests,” Donlon said.