FAIRBORN (WSU Athletics) - The Wright State men's basketball team dropped its 2018 NCAA Tournament banner in the Nutter Center rafters and immediately went to work by defeating Western Carolina 96-73 Wednesday night at the Nutter Center.
For the game, Bill Wampler showed his hot hand with 26 points, including five three pointers. Loudon Love pitched in with 17 points and seven rebounds as Skyelar Potter ended with 16 points on three threes. Freshman Malachi Smith also finished in double digits with 10 points, and three steals. WSU shot 55% from the field, making 46% from three while outrebounding the Cats 37-34. Cole Gentry picked up nine assists. The WSU bench was important as they outscored WCU 38-16.
The Raiders burst out with a 12-2 lead by the first media timeout. WCU called their timeout following a Potter three just seconds later. At the second media time (11:37), the Raiders led 20-7 with 10 points from Love. WSU increased its lead to 33-9 at 7:51 on a Wampler three pointer. Wright State then led 44-20 at the final media timeout, and took a 52-26 lead to the locker room.
Wampler topped the Raiders with 18 points on four threes and Love finished with 10 points in 10 minutes of action. The remaining 24 points were distributed throughout the team as Potter had seven. WSU shot 49% overall and 53% from three-point range while outrebounding the Catamounts 23-18.
The teams started fairly even as the final 20 began. WSU led 68-39 at the 12-minute mark. The Raiders continued their hot shooting from the field, hitting at 55% clip overall but the Cats outscored WSU 47-44.
"We needed the young players to play a lot of minutes tonight because Jaylon Hall hurt his ankle at practice, and didn't know if he would play until right before the game. I thought they played pretty well. Wampler was aggressive and he really helped tonight. If we can shoot the basketball well from the outside, it will open things up inside for Loudon."
The Raiders play on the road at Murray State Saturday night at 7 pm. The game can be seen on ESPN+ or heard with Chris Collins and Jim Brown on The Big 106.5 FM and the iHeart App. It will be Murray State's season opener after advancing to the NCAA Tournament a year ago with a 26-6 overall record and winning the Ohio Valley Conference at 16-2. The Racers handed WSU one of two home losses last season.