DAYTON - When we last left off Wright State had just held Loyola to just four field goals in the second half as they beat them 68-47 on Thursday night. Tonight Wright State held University of Illinois-Chicago to just five buckets in the second half and a school record 31 points in the game as the Raiders win 57-31.
The defensive wonders for Wright State included holding UIC to just 26.2 percent shooting (11-42) for the game and also holding UIC's first team Horizon League Player Josh Mayo to just six points and eight shots. To stop Mayo the Raiders used N'Gai Evans some and Will Graham a lot to guard him.
Wright State coach Brad Brownell said he used Graham because of his experience and all of the little things to he brings to the games.
He said, ‘Will has just been in the battles a longtime in this league. He is never the primary player. He is a glue guy, he holds your players together. He will never wow you with shooting but he wows you with a lot of other plays that a lot of casual fans miss."
Wright State player Pat Tabler added, "We were just trying to limit his touches. They do a lot of dribbling and fill behinds. We just didn't want to slide off of him to help"
When the game started, UIC (10-9, 3-6 HL) used the first six minutes of the game to build a five point lead on three short jumpers by Scott Vandermeer and a 3-pointer by Tori Boyd to go ahead 9-4.
At the 3:38 mark Wright State's Troy Tabler hit a 3-pointer to put Wright State up 15-13 and they held the lead for the rest of the game. By the time the first half ended Wright State (12-8, 6-3 HL) went up by 10 points at 23-13 on two more 3-pointers Todd Brown and a layup by Cooper Land.
In the second half UIC cut the lead to seven points at the 16:42 mark on a jumper by Boyd making it 30-23 but that was as close as the Flames got. Wright State just kept pushing the score up until the Raiders went up 26 points on the last bucket of the game when Land put in a layup with 44 seconds left.
After the game UIC coach Jimmy Collins appeared almost 45 minutes after the game and he hopping mad. The delay in appearing in the media room was because he was meeting with his team in their locker room.
"I have never been so embarrassed in all my years of coaching. I have never been affiliated with a team that wouldn't fight, said Collins. "Wight State has a good team and we quit. Brad does a good job with those kids. They are spirited, they are high fiving each other and picking each other up."
Collins said they have plays designed to get Mayo the ball but some of his players are selfish and just didn't want to set picks for Mayo.
"Our game plan was to get people the ball, to be poised, play smart and to play together, " added Collins. "We didn't do that."
Brown led a scorers with 23 points on a 9-18 shooting performance and Vandermeer led UIC with 10 points.
Brownell was pleased with his team's performance tonight and on Thursday against Loyola.
"Clearly one of our better performances, I am really please of how our kids played defensively," said Brownell. "We showed some maturity. We struggled early just a bit offensively, but we kept our poise and pulled through. Our kids were really ready, we played with a lot of confidence."
-The Raiders set a new school record by allowing only 31 points tonight breaking the 35 points record they set earlier this season against Toledo on December 9th when they won 50-35.
-One of Wright State's best players, John David Gardner played just seven minutes tonight and came out with an on-going nagging hip injury.
-UIC leads the all-time series with Wright State 20-19.
-UIC's next game is Wednesday at Green Bay at 8 p.m.
-Wright State's next game is Wednesday at Youngstown State at 7 p.m.