Julius Mays scored a career-high 33 points, including a school-record 19 of 20 free throws, as the men's basketball team held on for a 69-63 Horizon League win over UIC Wednesday night at WSU's Nutter Center.
A 12-0 run, seven of those coming from Mays, erased an early one-point deficit and the Raiders eventually extended the margin to as much as 42-24 before the Flames scored the final four points of the first half.
Wright State shot 54 percent in the opening 20 minutes, including six of 10 from three-point range, and was 10 of 12 at the foul line while UIC shot 40 percent, but was just one of seven from behind the arc.
After Reggie Arceneaux opened the second half scoring with a jumper, the Flames stormed back into the game with a 13-0 run, seven by Darrin Williams, to only trail 44-41 with 14 minutes to play. UIC later trimmed the margin to one at 52-51 on a Hayden Humes three from the right corner at the 7:26 mark.
The Raider lead was just two until Mays connected on a three to make it 62-57 with 1:25 left. The Flames would get no closer than three the rest of the way as Wright State made seven of eight free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
WSU hit only four of 19 shots in the second half compared to 41 percent shooting for the Flames, but the Raiders maintained the advantage by going 18 of 21 at the foul line, finishing at 28 of 33 overall, while UIC was a perfect 11 for 11 in making 18 of 19 on the night.
Mays had just five field goals on the night, but hit 19 of 20 free throws, including 11 of 12 in the second half, to finish with a career-high 33 points, bettering the 28 he had against Idaho on December 20. The 19 made foul shots are a school record, eclipsing the 16 made by Bill Edwards in the Mid-Continent Conference championship game against UIC on March 9, 1993 and equaled by Thad Burton at Green Bay on February 19, 1998. The 20 attempts by Mays were two short of the 22 tried by Edwards in his 16 makes.
Johann Mpondo and Arceneaux each added 10 points for the Raiders with Armond Battle collecting eight rebounds.
Marc Brown paced UIC (6-14, 2-8 Horizon) with 17 points while Gary Talton had 14 and Williams 11 along with eight boards.
Wright State (10-12, 5-5 Horizon) wraps up the brief two-game homestand on Friday, January 27, against Loyola starting at 7:00. The game is the annual Black Out night, with 3000 black t-shirts to be given away, and also Beavercreek Night.