Men’s Basketball: Raiders looking to shut down Bader in quarterfinal game versus Oakland
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After an 18-13 regular season, Wright State starts its postseason in the quarterfinals of the Horizon League Championships in Green Bay versus Oakland Friday evening.
Oakland earned the opportunity to play in Friday’s quarterfinals after an incredible come-from-behind win Tuesday versus Youngstown State in overtime.
The Raiders swept the season series against the Golden Grizzlies this year.
A loss this weekend could end the Raiders’ season pending an invitation to one of the postseason national tournaments.
“You’ve got 40 minutes and you better make the most of them,” Wright State head coach Billy Donlon said. “We are going to play a very, very good team. Our guys need to be ready and excited. They need to be excited and understand Saturday and Tuesday doesn’t exist without Friday.”
Oakland’s Travis Bader comes into Friday’s contest red-hot after scoring 39 versus YSU. He is the leading 3-point shooter in the nation.
In the Raiders one-point win on Feb. 16, WSU guard Matt Vest kept Bader from making a 3-pointer for only the third time this season. That sort of effort might be needed to extend the Raiders’ season into Saturday.
“He has played urgent all year,” Donlon said about Bader. “He has had games where he has scored 30, 35. Travis Bader is going to show up and he is a really good player. I don’t think what he did last night was out of ordinary. He is capable of having nights like that and we’ll have to be ready for him.”
If Wright State wins Friday, it will face Cleveland State in Saturday’s semifinals. Wins over both Cleveland State and Oakland would mean the Raiders would return to the Horizon League title game for the second straight year.
That game would either be played in Green Bay or Fairborn depending on other results.
In WSU’s win on Feb. 16, the Raiders rallied from 10 down in the final two minutes taking advantage of Grizzlies center Corey Petros fouling out late in the contest.
“Our thing versus them is our depth, they don’t’ have a lot of depth and we want to try to get them in foul trouble,” Donlon said.
The Raiders nearly had to face Youngstown State on Friday rather than Oakland. With YSU leading 81-79 with 0.6 seconds remaining, Oakland coach Greg Kampe drew up an inbounds play that resulted in Bader being fouled.
Bader, who is one of the top free throw shooters in the nation, drained both shots to force overtime.
Donlon said that the players and coaches watched the incredible finish unfold live on television.
“Let’s give the winning side a lot of credit with what they did there in that game,” Donlon said. “But it has been done before. It is a hard thing. You want to pressure the ball but an incredible ending.”
Donlon said he expects nearly a full, healthy lineup this weekend. The only exception is guard Kendall Griffin who will sit out all weekend with a head injury he suffered in February in a game versus Youngstown State.