GREENE COUNTY — The Wright State University men’s college basketball team fell behind early in the first half by 14 points, then battled back to put a scare into heavily favored host Clemson University, before falling 75-69 in the opening round of the National Invitational Tournament.
The Raiders (21-14) led Clemson 62-61 with just over four minutes left in the game, and trailed 70-69 with 2:05 to go, but host Clemson (20-13) closed the game out with a 5-0 run on free throws by Elijah Thomas, John Newman III, and Clyde Trapp down the stretch.
Five Wright State players scored in double figures. Bill Wampler led the Raiders with 17 points, Loudon Love finished with 14 points, Cole Gentry scored 13, Mark Hughes added 12, and Skyelar Potter finished with 11 in the loss.
Clemson’s Marcquise Reed led all scorers with 24 points.
WSU had trailed by a 16-2 margin with 14 minutes still to play in the first half, but battled back to tie the game 33-all at the half. The Raiders were making their first-ever appearance in the NIT tournament.
Coach Scott Nagy loses four seniors — Hughes, Alan Vest, Adam Giles and Parker Ernsthausen — from his Wright State team with the loss.
Clemson, a No. 2 seed in its quadrant of the 32-team tournament, will now advance to take on either third-seeded Furman or No. 6 seed Wichita State in the second round. The first three rounds of the NIT are held at host sites, while the semifinals and championship are scheduled for April 2 and 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.