The Raider defense held Idaho State to just nine field goals for the game as the Wright State men's basketball team cruised to a 60-45 win over the Bengals Friday night at the Utah Thanksgiving Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah.
It was back and forth for the first seven minutes of the contest until WSU scored 10 straight points, including a three and jumper by Miles Dixon, gave the Raiders a 19-7 lead midway through the first half. Wright State maintained at least an eight-point advantage for the rest of the period and led 31-23 at the break.
The Raiders hit 13 of 26 shots in the opening 20 minutes, including four of nine from three-point range, but made only one of seven free throws while the Bengals, despite hitting just five of 13 shots, stayed close by making three of nine three-pointers and 10 of 12 at the foul line.
Idaho State cut the deficit to six on two free throws to start the second half, but that would be all the closer the Bengals would get as WSU tallied the next six points on a Reggie Arceneaux three and a three-point play by JT Yoho. By the time ISU made its first field goal of the second half at the 10:38 mark, the Raider lead was 46-30.
Wright State went up as much as 57-35 on a Joe Bramanti three-point play with 5:23 remaining before the Bengals scored 10 of the game's final 13 points.
WSU shot 47 percent for the game while holding Idaho State to just nine of 30 field goal shooting, including four of 17 in the second half. The Raiders held a 34-6 advantage in points in the paint, 19-6 in points off of turnovers and 15-2 in second-chance points.
Dixon led all scorers with 16 for Wright State off the bench while Matt Vest added 11. Arceneaux added eight points and dished out five assists while Yoho and Tavares Sledge each chipped in six points.
Melvin Morgan paced Idaho State (0-4) with 14 points.
Wright State (4-1) wraps up play in the tournament Saturday as the Raiders face host Utah starting at 9:30 Eastern.
Wright State Head Coach Billy Donlon
On responding tonight after the loss to CMU
"I'm really proud of our guys this evening. We came out and played with a really competitive spirit and we were able to get the win tonight. I think you have to look at how a team handles adversity and we did well after failing in areas last night against CMU. I think that shows the type of character this team has."
On what he thought the key areas and individual performances were this evening
"I mean, we scored 19 points off their turnovers and I think that was key. Jaren Young came in and gave us valuable minutes and grabbed seven or eight rebounds. Miles Dixon continues to play well for us and Matt Vest was another player who I felt turned in a solid performance tonight. I think the guys who had to guard [Melvin] Morgan, their leading scorer tonight, also did a fantastic job."
On sharing the basketball tonight and the lack of turnovers
"Well, right now we have a lot of guys who can score for us and we did a really nice job of sharing the basketball tonight. We didn't turn the ball over that many times tonight, maybe under 10 for the game. I thought Reggie Arceneaux, if we can get that type of performance from him with the basketball every night, five assists and zero turnovers, that will be huge for us moving forward."
Idaho State Head Coach Bill Evans
On what he saw on the court
"I saw a guy from Wright State do a better job at coaching his team than me, that's what I saw. We just didn't play tonight, we didn't play like we're capable of playing. They were tougher, they were prepared. And that falls on me. Like I told our guys, ‘tomorrow's a new day, and we're going to try to get the thing righted here a little bit and do a better job tomorrow.' Because we didn't do a very good job tonight. We just didn't do a very good job."
On not scoring well except at the free throw line
"Thank goodness for free throws. Because otherwise we wouldn't have gotten to 45. We still have yet to break 50 points, and my guys are trying, but you can't win games if you can't score more than 50 points. This team scored more points against us than any team that we've played, they scored 60. They shot a pretty good percentage. We've just got to learn from it and move on. I'm really disappointed, I can tell you that. Disappointed in myself, because I don't want to blame an 18-year old, or a 19, or 20 or 21-year old. I'm disappointed in the way we played and I'll take responsibility for that. And it won't be the last time that I take responsibility because we are not going to go undefeated from here on out. Wright State was tougher tonight, they played harder, and they were better organized. That's my fault."
On being prepared for tomorrow
"You've got to go in with the right kind of attitude, because attitude is so important in what we do. I didn't go in there and beat my guys up, and tell them they were terrible. I told them that they didn't play good and they weren't tough enough. They need to hear the truth just like I need to recognize the truth in the errors that I make."