Raiders fall despite 31 points from Benzinger

FAIRBORN, Ohio – The Wright State Raiders rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to lead 57-56, but managed just 10 points over the final 10 minutes as Oakland went on to a 76-67 decision Wednesday night at WSU’s Nutter Center.

Neither team had more than a three-point advantage until Oakland went up 26-21 on a Ralph Hill three with 8:20 remaining in the first half.  Grant Benzinger cut the margin to 35-33 with a jumper at the 3:11, only to see the Golden Grizzlies close the period by scoring the final eight points to take a 43-33 halftime lead.

Oakland shot 59 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, including five of 10 from three-point range, while WSU shot 46 percent, but was just two of six from behind the arc.

A Max Hooper three extended the Golden Grizzlies advantage to 48-37 before the Raiders stormed back with 12 straight points, capped off by a Benzinger tip-in, to regain the lead at 49-48 with 14:34 left.

Oakland went back up three before Wright State again had a one-point edge at 57-56 at the 10:15 mark  thanks to five more Benzinger points.

The Golden Grizzlies, though, went back in front to stay with six unanswered points and WSU would get no closer than four the rest of the way.

Oakland shot 53 percent for the game, seven of 20 from three, while the Raiders shot 43 percent and hit 20 of 26 free throws, but were just three of 14 from three.

Benzinger led all scorers with 31 points, the most by a Wright State player since Julius Mays had 33 against UIC on January 25, 2012.  The freshman guard was 11 of 12 from the foul line and scored 19 points in the second half.

Fellow freshman guard Justin Mitchell had a season-high 18 points along with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Corey Petros and Hooper paced Oakland (14-14, 9-4 Horizon) with 17 points each while Kahlil Felder had 12.

Wright State (11-16, 3-10 Horizon) heads to Valparaiso Saturday night for an 8:00 Eastern contest.

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