FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – The Wright State men’s basketball team built a nine-point halftime lead, but had to hold off Valparaiso in the second half before defeating the Crusaders 67-58 on Senior Night Tuesday night at WSU’s Nutter Center.
Six straight points, four of those coming from JT Yoho, gave the Raiders a 14-8 advantage eight minutes into the contest and the lead grew to 30-18 on four consecutive Cole Darling points, the final two coming on foul shots at the 2:54 mark.
WSU led 32-23 at the break despite the Crusaders shooting 47 percent from the field compared to 41 percent for the Raiders. Valpo, however, attempted just 19 shots while Wright State had 27 attempts thanks in part to forcing 11 turnovers while committing only seven.
The margin was double figures at 49-39 on two AJ Pacher foul shots with 11:19 to play, only to see the Crusaders close to within four at 55-51 on an Alec Peters tip-in at the 4:07 mark.
A jumper and two foul shots by Pacher, though, push the lead back up to eight and the senior forward connected on a three from the top of the key made it 62-53 with 2:27 remaining.
Valparaiso cut the deficit to 63-58 on a three-point play from Moussa Gueye at the 18.9-second mark, but could get no closer as WSU scored the final four points of the contest on two Yoho free throws and a Miles Dixon dunk.
Both teams shot the ball well in the second half as Wright State hit 13 of 26 shots to finish at 45 percent while the Crusaders shot 46 percent the final 20 minutes to end up at 47 percent. WSU hit 15 of 18 free throws compared to 10 of 12 for Valpo.
Pacher led all scorers with 20 for the Raiders, 13 in the second half, while Darling scored all 12 of his points in the first half. Yoho added 10 off the bench.
Peters paced Valparaiso (17-13, 9-6 Horizon) with 11 points while Vashil Fernandez had 10.
Wright State (17-13, 9-6 Horizon) closes out the regular season on Saturday, March 1, at UIC at 2:00 Eastern. The Raiders will either be the #3 or #4 seed in next week’s Horizon League Tournament.