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Wright State scores big win at Northern Kentucky

NKU WRIGHT STATE.jpg

The Wright State men's basketball team entered Thursday night's game at Northern Kentucky in an early-season tie for first place with the Norse. The Raiders left the BB&T Arena in lone possession of first place with a league record of 5-0.

The Raiders, off to their best conference start ever, broke the Norse 13-game home winning streak with an 84-81 decision. Grant Benzinger was hot early, and it continued throughout the night as he finished with his season-best 31 points. Freshman Loudon Love had his third straight double-double and seventh of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Everett Winchester and Mark Hughes each added 10 points.

Wright State, 13-5 overall, has won six straight and nine of the last 10 games. NKU is now 11-6, 4-1. Northern Kentucky will visit the Nutter Center February 16.

GAME SUMMARY

First Half Highlights

The Raiders took a 40-38 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Benzinger was hot as he finished the first 20 minutes with 16 points off three threes

Love added a strong performance with eight points, five rebounds and two blocks

The Raiders had a 12-point lead at 24-12 after the Norse took a three-point early lead.

The Raiders shot 51.9% from the field, connecting on 14 of 27 shots overall.

NKU shot only 41.4% from the field

WSU had a narrow rebound lead 18-16.

Winchester came off the bench for six points and five boards. Hughes had five points.

Second Half Highlights

The Raiders shot 60% in the second half and 55.8% overall from the field

Benzinger was just one point short of his career high 32 points at Georgia State last season.

Benzinger tied his career-high 11 free throws made.

NKU had four players in double figures, led by Lavone Holland II with 22 points. Preseason Player of the Year Drew McDonald had 18 points.

Wright State outrebounded Northern Kentucky 32-29.

Cole Gentry ended with eight points and two steals.

FACTS AND FIGURES

The Raiders outscored the Norse in the paint 40-32 as each team received 16 points from their bench.

WSU led for almost 27 minutes of the game with NKU holding the lead just over seven minutes total.

POST-GAME REACTION

"We took their best punch in the second half when we were down, and I was down to one timeout. I told our guys to just take care of the ball but they wore us down. I don't know how we survived, but we did."

--WSU head coach Scott Nagy

"I knew the shot clock was getting low, so I knew I had to take the shot. I just had a little hesitation, and I was able to get it up quick. It's a shot I practice with Coach (Brian) Cooley all the time, so I expect to make those. Of course, it helped make up for my turnover just before that.

--WSU point guard Cole Gentry on big basket late in the game

NEXT UP

The Raiders host Youngstown State Monday at 4 pm.

The Penguins are currently 5-12, 3-1 and will play at Detroit Mercy Friday night. YSU lost at Oakland Wednesday night 95-82.

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