Grant Benzinger scored 29 points, 18 after halftime, but the Wright State men's basketball team could not overcome Northern Kentucky shooting 67 percent in the second half as the Norse defeated the Raiders 82-77 in the Horizon League Quarterfinals Sunday night at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
WSU jumped out to a 9-2 lead five minutes into the contest, only to see NKU eventually take the lead at 13-12 on a Dantez Walker layup with 9:35 remaining in the first half.
Benzinger put Wright State ahead 23-21 on a three and layup before Northern Kentucky outscored the Raiders 8-4 the final 2:35 of the period to take a slight 29-27 edge into halftime.
Both teams shot 36 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, but the Norse hit five threes compared to three for the Raiders and led 10-2 in points off of turnovers as they forced WSU in 10 miscues while committing only two.
The margin was still two when NKU's Dante Walton converted a layup with 12:24 remaining in the second half. That basket started a streak of 14 consecutive field goal makes for Northern Kentucky and produced a 35-27 run to extend the lead to 75-65 with 2:53 to play.
Wright State hung close as Benzinger connected on his sixth three-pointer of the second half to cut the deficit to 81-77 with 5.6 seconds remaining, but could get no closer as Drew McDonald hit a foul shot at the 4.8-second mark to round out the scoring.
The Norse shot 51 percent overall for the game compared to 43 percent for the Raiders and led 38-26 in points in the paint, 18-7 in points off of turnovers and 16-5 in fast-break points.
Benzinger led Wright State (20-12) with 29 points, 18 coming in the second half, while Mark Alstork had 22. Justin Mitchell posted a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds and also dished out seven assists.