No one involved with the Wright State men’s basketball program was happy about the team’s 79-69 loss to Wisconsin-Green Bay on Friday, but Chrishawn Hopkins may have been the most steamed of all.
The 6-foot-1 junior guard played a season-low nine minutes after spending the entire second half on the bench.
“I know he wasn’t happy that I didn’t play him in the second half,” Raiders coach Billy Donlon said. “He’s competitive. But he moved on.”
Sunday at Cleveland State, Hopkins played 27 minutes and had one of his better all-around games, tying his season high in rebounds (five) and assists (four) while adding four points and a steal while committing just one turnover.
“I don’t know what coach’s decision was to not play me in the second half against Green Bay, but I didn’t let it affect me,” Hopkins said. “I just came back ready to play my game and show him that I can contribute to the team.”
A transfer from Butler, Hopkins was on the bench again to start the second half Sunday. But he didn’t stay there long.
With CSU packing the paint after halftime and daring the Raiders to chuck up 3s, which they did on four of their first five possessions after halftime, missing the mark on all of them. Donlon sent Hopkins in at the 16:26 mark and got immediate results.
Hopkins attacked the Vikings defense and found open teammates for layups to help spark a 14-5 run that put WSU up by double digits.
“Chrishawn played really, really well and I was really proud of what he did in the second half,” Donlon said. “And there was no drop-off defensively in his game. Reggie (Arceneaux) has had a very, very good season, but he didn’t have a good night against Cleveland State. I’m not throwing Reggie under the bus. You’re not going to play a great game every time you take the floor. But because of that we needed Chrishawn to step up, which he did. And we’ll need him again (tonight).”
Tonight at 7 the Raiders will play host to a diverse Wisconsin-Milwaukee team which has won games in the paint and on the perimeter. Sometimes they’ll attack opponents both ways in the same game because coach Rob Jeter isn’t afraid to rip up a gameplan and switch directions midstream.
“Statistically they’re very difficult to figure out,” Donlon said. “Milwaukee is a different animal in that they can beat you both ways, and if they’re clicking on all cylinders they can do both in the same game. So we’ll need our depth to play well.”
Sophomore forward Matt Tiby leads the Panthers in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounding (6.7), while three other players also score in double figures. Senior guard Jordan Aaron averages 13.4, followed by senior forward Kyle Kelm (12.3) and sophomore forward Austin Arians (11.4).
All five Panthers starters average at least 28 ½ minutes per game.
Wright State, on the other hand, had just one starter play more than 22 minutes Sunday. Ten players saw action, with nine of them scoring. And all 10 had at least one rebound.
That depth will be important again tonight because this is the Raiders’ third game in five days, although they’ve had the luxury of two of them being at home, where they are 9-1 this season.
For Milwaukee, it will be the third game in six days, and all three have been on the road.
“Hopefully that will be in our favor,” Donlon said. “But they’re a tough group. The way they play reminds me of our team a year ago. They are a very proud program. They had a tough year last year, similar to us two years ago. These guys really, really want to get back to the top of the league.”