FAIRBORN, Ohio – A 12-0 run to end the first half proved to be the difference as the Wright State men’s basketball team held off two Charleston Southern rallies in the second half before defeating the Buccaneers 71-65 Thursday night at WSU’s Nutter Center.
Neither team had more than a four-point advantage until an 8-0 burst, half coming from Michael Karena, put the Raiders up 23-15 with 6:35 remaining in the first half.
The Buccaneers cut the deficit to 26-23 on a Patrick Wallace three-pointer at the 5:21 mark, only to see Wright State score the final 12 points of the period, capped off by threes by Mark Alstork, JT Yoho and Grant Benzinger, to go up 38-23 at the break.
WSU shot 52 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, including four of nine from behind the arc, while Charleston Southern shot 39 percent overall, but was just three of 11 from three-point range.
CSU gradually chipped away at the margin early in the second half and eventually drew to within three at 51-48 on an Aaron Wheeler basket with 8:30 remaining. The Raiders, though, answered with nine straight points, five coming from Mark Hughes, to push the lead back in double figures.
The margin was 13 with just under two minutes to play before the Buccaneers stormed back with an 11-1 run to only trail 68-65 with 15.9 seconds left. Hughes, however, made it a two-possession game with a pair of free throws at the 14.9-second mark and hit another with 3.1 seconds to go to round out the scoring.
Wright State shot 45 percent for the game and hit 24 of 37 free throws, 18 of 27 in the second half, while Charleston Southern shot 44 percent and was 14 of 21 at the stripe.
WSU had five players in double figures, led by Joe Thomasson with 16, Karena with 15, Alstork 12, Yoho 11 and Hughes 10. Karena added seven rebounds.
Wright State (4-7) hosts Bowling Green on Sunday, December 20, at 4:30 in the second game of a doubleheader as the Raider women take on Georgia in the opener at 2:00.