The Wright State men's basketball team rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit to lead by six with 5:37 to play, only to see Valparaiso close the game with an 18-4 run from to give the Crusaders a 62-54 win in the Horizon League championship game in Valparaiso Tuesday night.
Kendall Griffin tied the game at 5-5 with a layup at the 18:30 mark of the first half, but the Raiders managed just two free throws over the next 9:27 as Valpo build an 18-7 advantage. WSU answered with seven straight points, four coming from Reggie Arceneaux, to close to within four before the Crusaders went on a 10-0 run to go up 28-14 at the 4:26 mark.
Valparaiso led 36-25 at the half as it hit 14 of 23 shots in the opening 20 minutes compared to just 36 percent shooting for Wright State.
The Raiders, though, started the second half strong with a 15-4 burst to tie the game at 40 on two Miles Dixon free throws with 12:43 to play. Arceneaux then put WSU up 45-42 on a three from the left wing at the 9:25 mark and, following a Jerran Young dunk, Matt Vest made it 50-44 on a three with 5:37 to go.
From there, however, it was all Crusaders as they tallied the next 16 points, five by Erik Buggs and four from Will Bogan, to make it 60-50 before Tavares Sledge finally broke the string on a layup with eight seconds remaining.
Valpo shot 54 percent for the game and was 16 of 21 at the foul line while the Raiders shot 39 percent and were nine of 13 at the stripe. WSU, though, outscored the Crusaders 24-8 in points off of turnovers, 10-0 in second-chance points and 31-7 in bench scoring.
Arceneaux led Wright State (21-12) with 14 points off the bench, but no other Raider managed more than seven.
Buggs paced all scorers with 22 for Valparaiso (26-7) while Bogan had 14 and Kevin Van Wijk posted a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Erik Buggs, Valparaiso (MVP)
Ryan Broekhoff, Valparaiso
Miles Dixon, Wright State
Reggie Arceneaux, Wright State
Keifer Sykes, Green Bay