FAIRBORN — The Wright State University men’s basketball team returned home Dec. 3, downing visiting Western Kentucky, 76-74, inside the Nutter Center after two lockdown defensive possessions in the final minute to secure the victory.
The Raiders (7-3) used a 26-9 run in the second half over an seven-minute stretch from the under-12 media timeout until the 4:44 mark to take a nine-point lead, but the Hilltoppers (6-3) responded with a 12-2 run of their own to take a one-point lead at 74-73 with 1:36 remaining.
Cole Gentry scored the final bucket of his season-high 17-point night with a layup on the next Wright State possession to give the Raiders the lead back, and Grant Basile blocked Western Kentucky big man Charles Bassey with under a minute remaining and pulled down two rebounds while hitting one of two free throws to extend the Raider advantage to two.
After a Bill Wampler miss with six seconds remaining, the Hilltoppers’ Camron Justice saw his rushed shot attempt bounce off iron as Basile pulled down his 10th and final rebound of the night at the final horn.
Wampler finished with a game-high 22 points, including 15 in the first half, while shooting 50 percent from the floor with a trio of three-point baskets. He was also a perfect 5-for-5 at the free throw line while adding three rebounds, two assists and a block to his stat line.
Gentry scored 11 of his 17 points in the opening 20 minutes and finished the night 8-for-10 from the floor with three rebounds and two steals, while Basile was the third and final double-digit scorer for the Raiders, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three steals and a pair of blocks.
As a team, Wright State shot 43 percent from the floor (28-for-65), including connecting at an even 50 percent rate in the second half, while shooting 70 percent of its attempts from the free throw line. Western Kentucky shot 49 percent (32-for-65) from the floor, while the Raiders won the battle on the boards, 40-35, as each side pulled down 30 defensive rebounds.
The Raiders forced 15 Hilltopper turnovers, converting those to 17 points. Wright State finished the night with 18 points off its bench thanks to eight points from Trey Calvin, six from Skyelar Potter and four from Jordan Ash. Potter added six rebounds, all coming on the defensive side of the ball.
Western Kentucky jumped out to a nine-point lead early, but the Raiders closed the first half on a 10-2 run and took momentum into the locker room despite trailing by two at 36-34. The Hilltoppers scored 14 of the first 20 points to start the second half to open up to their largest lead of the night at 10, but the Raiders again had an answer and responded with the 26-9 run to take the lead. Wright State’s 71-62 advantage at the end of that stretch was its largest of the night and set up the game’s final act to play out.
Charles Bassey finished with 19 points, nine rebounds and three blocks to pace Western Kentucky, who also received double-digit scoring nights from Camron Justice (17 points) and Taveion Hollingsworth (15 points).