The Wright State men's basketball team built up an 18-point lead early in the second half, but had to hold off a Youngstown State rally before defeating the Penguins 66-59 in Horizon League quarterfinal action Friday night in Valparaiso, Indiana.
YSU jumped out to a quick 5-0 advantage and was up 11-7 before a three and layup from Miles Dixon gave WSU what turned out to be as the lead for good at 12-11 with 10:06 remaining in the first half. After Kamren Belin trimmed the Penguin deficit to two with a free throw, the Raiders scored seven straight points, the final five by AJ Pacher, to extend the margin to 21-12 at the 7:07 mark.
Wright State gradually built on the lead from there, going up as much as 14 twice in the late stages of the period, the second being a Pacher layup in the final minute to make it 33-19 at the half.
WSU shot 46 percent from the floor overall in the opening 20 minutes, was four of nine from three-point range and seven of eight at the foul line while YSU shot 30 percent overall, missed all seven of its three-point attempts and was just three of seven at the stripe.
Another Pacher layup made it 37-19 with 18:19 to go and, despite the Penguins cutting it to six twice, the Wright State lead was 54-43 at the 7:41 mark following a Reggie Arceneaux three and a JT Yoho layup.
Youngstown State went go on a 10-2 run to close to within three and it was 59-56 on a Damian Eargle putback with 2:44 left, but the Penguins would get no coser as Jerran Young answered with a layup and later hit two free throws with 44 seconds remaining to make it 63-57. Joe Bramanti then hit two foul shots with 10.8 seconds to play for the final margin.
WSU hit 12 of 23 shots in the second half, including three of four three-pointers, for 52 percent to finish the game at 49 percent overall while YSU also shot 52 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes to end up at 41 percent for the contest. The Raiders were 13 of 19 at the foul line compared to eight of 16 for the Penguins.
Dixon paced Wright State with 14 points off the bench, 10 in the first half, whle Pacher and Young had 13 each. Arceneaux chipped in 11 off the bench as the Raider reserves outscored the Penguin bench 33-14.
Belin led Youngstown State (17-15) with 20 points while Eargle had 13 and Kendrick Perry 11 off the bench.
Wright State (20-11), who with the victory reached the 20-win plateau for the fifth time in the last seven seasons, advances to the semifinals to face #2 seed Detroit on Saturday at 6:00 Eastern, again at the Athletics-Recreation Center in Valparaiso.