Contributed by Wright State Athletics
The Wright State men’s basketball team picked up its first-ever Division I postseason win Wednesday night at the Wright State University Nutter Center, pulling away over the final 10 minutes for a 72-52 victory over Tulsa in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational Presented by Buick.
Both teams found the offense hard to come by in the early going as a Reggie Arceneaux three and a Matt Vest fast-break layup gave the Raiders a 16-12 advantage with 7:44 remaining in the first half. James Woodard cut the deficit to one with a three-point play, only to see Wright State answered with eight straight points, including threes by JT Yoho and Miles Dixon, to go up 24-15 at the 5:20 mark.
The margin gradually grew to 12 on a Kendall Griffin triple before Woodward followed with one of his own to make it 32-23 at the halftime break.
Wright State shot 39 percent altogether in the opening 20 minutes, but hit seven of 14 three-point attempts while Tulsa shot 28 percent and was just one of six from three.
The Golden Hurricane, though, came out strong to start the second half and tied it at 36 on a D’Andre Wright free throw with 16:07 left. While the Raiders never trailed in the final 20 minutes, it was still just a two-point contest at 45-43 at the 12:15 mark.
Baskets by Griffin, Dixon and Jerran Young, though, extended the lead to eight and a later Young triple made it 60-48 with 6:31 to play. Wright State later pushed the margin to as much 20 twice in the final two minutes.
The win was Wright State’s first-ever postseason win in Division I in three tries. The Raiders lost to Indiana in the NCAA Tournament in 1993 and to Pittsburgh in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
Wright State shot 55 percent in the second half to finish at 47 percent overall, including nine of 19 from three, and hit 11 of 16 free throws compared to 35 percent shooting for Tulsa in the contest, four of 16 from behind the arc and 14 of 25 at the foul line. Wright State led 39-34 in rebounds, 30-18 in points in the paint and 19-2 in points off of turnovers.
Griffin led the Raiders with 15 points while Young had 14, all but two coming in the second half, along with eight rebounds. Dixon chipped in 12 off the bench as the Wright State reserves outscored the Golden Hurricane bench 29-19.
Scottie Haralson paced Tulsa (17-16) with 13 points while Woodard added 12 along with eight rebounds.
Wright State (22-12) now faces Richmond, a 76-71 winner over Bryant, in the quarterfinals on Monday, March 25, at the Wright State Nutter Center starting at 7:00.