Men’s Basketball: Raiders rally, run out the clock in win over Flames
Whether it was a defensive stop, making free throws, or getting offensive rebounds, Wright State did what was required late in a 58-53 win over Illinois-Chicago Sunday.
WSU remains unbeaten at home and improves to 3-1 in Horizon League play.
“Good win for our team considering some of the elements, I was proud of them,” Wright State head coach Billy Donlon said.
Parts of the second half were reminiscent of six of the Raiders’ eight road losses where WSU struggled to make baskets in the second half. UIC held a 53-49 lead and had the momentum with four minutes to go.
A Reggie Arceneaux 3-pointer squashed the Flames’ momentum.
Wright State finished the contest on a 9-0 run and prevented UIC from scoring in the final 4:43 of the game.
“Most of our losses came from close games,” Arceneaux said. “That shouldn’t happen with a veteran team like ours especially with us bringing everyone back.”
Sunday was another match WSU kept its opponent below its season average. UIC was 17 points shy of its season average in points. After allowing opponents to regularly score more than 70 the first month of the season, the Raiders have not allowed an opponent to score 70 on them since Dec. 7 at VMI.
Donlon credited his team for getting several big stops in the final minutes of the contest.
“We didn’t guard well early and it cost us some games and now we’re guarding the way we need to guard,” Donlon said. “Those guys are great men in the locker room. I never thought for a second we wouldn’t get the train back on the tracks. We have done that and now we have to keep it on the track.”
AJ Pacher led the Raiders with 17 points and eight boards. Jerran Young and Arceneaux had 13 and 10 points respectively.
The Raiders remained shorthanded Sunday as Matt Vest, Kendall Griffin, and JT Yoho sat out the contest with injuries. Donlon said Vest and Griffin are candidates to return in the Raiders’ nationally televised contest Friday versus Green Bay.
Arceneaux hit a 3-pointer with 3:29 remaining to cut UIC’s lead to 53-52. On WSU’s next possession, Pacher deked around two UIC defenders to score a game-winning layup with 2:42 left.
“We really need to make plays and Reggie’s shot was huge,” Pacher said. “What he did, we were down four, to hit that 3, it means a lot. You wouldn’t have noticed his 3 if we didn’t get stops.”
On the defensive end, Cole Daring had a blocked shot and a steal to give the Raiders the ball back with 1:36 left.
Though WSU missed key shots, Miles Dixon and Darling grabbed huge offensive rebounds allowing Arceneaux to dribble the clock down to 14.4 seconds left. Arceneaux’s decision not to force a shot paid off well for Wright State.
“I didn’t hear coach, I just knew to pull it out,” Arceneaux said. “Miles and then Cole got it, I just thought let’s run this clock.”
Arceneaux played a season-high 39 minutes in the contest. He quarterbacked the squad from the point letting the clock nearly run out.
“It was a great job by our point guard,” Pacher said. “That is credit to Reggie because he knows what to do without coach having to tell him. That is a tremendous job by Reggie and tremendous job by our team to do what we just did out there.”
The Raiders finished the game making four free throws in the final seconds of the game to seal the victory.
For the contest, WSU shot 88 percent from the line; a marked improvement from shooting 58 percent at Detroit last Saturday.