The Wright State men’s basketball team is one game away of the ultimate goal of reaching the NCAA tournament as the Raiders defeated Milwaukee 59–53 in the semifinals of the Little Caesars Horizon League Championship March 5 in Detroit.
The Raiders will meet eighth-seeded Cleveland State on Tuesday, March 6, at 7 p.m., for the conference title and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The game will air on ESPN.
If the Raiders win, they will earn their third trip to the NCAA tournament. The team previously made the tournament in 1993 and 2007.
Cleveland State defeated Oakland in the other semifinal game 44–43. The Vikings and the Raiders split during their two regular season games.
Loudon Love notched a double-double in the first half and finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds as fellow freshman Jaylon Hall came off the bench for 12 points. Senior Grant Benzinger grabbed 10 boards and scored eight points.
The Raiders also set a new school Division I record with 24 wins as Wright State took the lead for good late in the first half.
First half highlights
- The Raiders went to the locker room up 27–25.
- Milwaukee jumped out early and held the lead for almost 13 minutes of the first half. Loudon Love had his 13th doubledouble after 20 minutes with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Parker Ernsthausen and Benzinger each had six points.
- The Raiders outrebounded the Panthers 24–17 and shot 34 percent from the field, compared to 30 percent for UWM.
Second half highlights
- Love scored eight points and made two important free throws with 1:26 remaining.
- Hall led the way with nine points in the second period.
- Wright State shot 32 percent in the second half with just two threes. Milwaukee shot 33 percent, also hitting two threes.
- Milwaukee outscored the Raiders in the paint 24–20, but the Raider bench came out strong 12–0.
- Wright State outrebounded the Panthers 4240.
- There were low turnover numbers with Wright State posting 10 and Milwaukee just eight. The Raiders shot 85 percent (17–20) from the line.
- There were just two lead changes and three ties.