Story by: Blake sutherland staff writer
STORY EDITED BY SPORTS EDITOR CHRIS POUNDS
Photo By: Tim Zechar
Photo By: Tim Zechar
It’s never to early to think about the NCAA tournament. Especially with march right around the corner it is every College Basketball team is hoping to make the cut, the WSU Raiders of the Horizon League are no exception. Currently sitting at 14-7 and 5-3 in conference play lets see how the Raiders season has truly been.
Wright State’s men’s basketball has turned around a season which began with inconsistent play to beginning to climb up the Horizon League standings.
Before their last two games, head coach Scott Nagy was not pleased with the way his team had played up to that point in the season.
“We’re not playing great,” Nagy emphasized. “I’ve told the players, we haven’t stuck it to anybody since the Murray State game. We’ve just been kind of floundering. We haven’t put any good runs together, haven’t been great offensively and we’ve just been average defensively. That’s why we’re 3-3.”
The Murray State game that Nagy was referring to was back on Dec. 22, when the Raiders traveled to Murray, KY and came out with a dominant 77-62 win.
Since then Wright State has shown their fair share of great games however, they have played lackadaisical on both offense and defense in many games this season.
In terms of finding a solution for their inconsistencies, Nagy was not just looking for one player to step his game up.
“I think probably just our older players being more consistent, in terms of what they do, and it starts for us on the defensive end,” said Nagy. “If we do it on the defensive end we’re generally better on the offensive end.”
Following Nagy’s remarks the older players stepped up their game.
Against Detroit Mercy, Steven Davis, the lone senior on the team, exploded for his career high in points with 27. Also juniors Grant Benzinger and Justin Mitchell scored 22 points. For Mitchell it was a career high.
In the following game against Oakland, leading scorer Mark Alstork had 24 points and also added 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Alstork averages 17.8 points per game, while adding 5.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists a game as well.
The ball movement that Alstork demonstrated against Oakland has been the staple for this turnaround of late as an important factor in the Raiders success during their three game win streak has been their mentality to value possession of the basketball.
The Raiders have played 12 games in the season where their turnover numbers are higher than their assist total.
The trend seemed to have turned around in their come from behind win against Milwaukee on Jan. 14.
On the road and down 11 in the second half, Wright State would go on to outscore Milwaukee 34-20 to win the game.
Their assist to turnover ratio in the Oakland game was 17 to 13. In their next game against Detroit Mercy the Raiders had 21 assist to 11 turnovers, their best ratio by far this season.
Following the game Benzinger said, “If you don’t do a good job taking care of the ball, you’re not going to win. 11 turnovers for us, I think that’s a season low for us and coach is really pumped about that.”
With a 5-3 record in conference play and 14-7 record overall in the season has placed the Raiders in a tie with Oakland for third place. The Raiders only trail Green Bay(12-8) and Valparaiso(16-4) in the Horizon League.
Now the Raiders will go on the road to take on the best team in the conference in Valparaiso on Friday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m.
WHERE: At Valpo
WHEN: Friday Jan, 27
TIME: 8 p.m.
VALPO RECORD: 16-4
WSU RECORD: 14-7