SPARTENBURG, S.C – The Wright State men’s basketball nearly pulled off a miracle comeback, down five with 30 seconds left in overtime, but came up short in falling 61-59 to Florida International Friday afternoon at the Spartanburg Marriott Upstate Classic.
It was all Panthers in the early going as they built a 13-point advantage on three different occasions in the first half, the final being 28-15 on an Adrian Diaz layup at the 4:08 mark.
WSU, though, closed the first half with a 7-3 run, four coming from Reggie Arceneaux, to only trail 31-22 at the break despite shooting 32 percent from the field in the first half compared to 52 percent shooting for FIU, who was also seven of nine at the foul line while Wright State was two of five.
The Raiders carried that momentum into the start of the second half, scoring nine of the first 10 points of the period, six by Michael Karena, to cut the deficit to 32-31. Wright State then took its first lead since it held an early 5-3 advantage at 47-46 as Chrishawn Hopkins connected on a three with 5:46 left.
WSU held the lead down the stretch and was up 52-50 as Arceneaux hit one of two free throws at the 17.5-second mark, but a Dennis Mavin layup with 4.2 seconds left sent the game into overtime.
A JT Yoho three put the Raiders up 55-54 with 4:11 to play in overtime, but that turned out to be the only lead Wright State would have in the extra period as Florida International would score the next four points.
FIU looked to be in control as Daviyon Draper hit a pair of foul shots with 30 seconds remaining to go up 61-56, but Yoho answered with a three and Arceneaux came up with a steal to give WSU one last chance. The Raiders, though, could not come up with a shot before time expired.
Florida International shot 42 percent for the game compared to 35 percent for Wright State, but the bigger difference came at the foul line as the Panthers were 21 of 28 overall, including seven of eight in overtime, while the Raiders were 11 of 19, one of four in the extra period.
Yoho had a near double-double of 16 points and nine rebounds to lead WSU and also dished out five assists while Chrishawn Hopkins had 13 points and Joe Thomasson 11 points and seven rebounds.
Mavin paced Florida International (4-2) with a near double-double of 24 points and nine boards while Diaz added 19 points and eight rebounds.
Wright State (3-3) wraps up tournament on Saturday, taking on host USC Upstate at 6:00.