The final numbers show Wright State got beat on the boards Tuesday night against Valparaiso.
But the 30-25 deficit against one of the Horizon League’s best rebounding teams wasn’t viewed as anything but positive by the Raiders, especially in light of their 67-58 triumph on the scoreboard.
“We did a good job,” WSU coach Billy Donlon said. “We were physical. We wanted to win.”
Valparaiso came into the game leading the league in three rebounding categories and was ranked second or third in three others.
But the Raiders were especially effective grabbing their own missed shots as they finished with 11 offensive rebounds, one shy of their season high.
“They rebound the ball very well, and they’re different from most Valpo teams they’ve had,” said WSU senior AJ Pacher, who led all players with six rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end.
“They’re way more athletic, and they have more size,” Pacher continued. “For us to rebound the way we did was really impressive.”
Wright State converted those 11 offensive boards into 16 second-chance points, 12 of which came in the first half to help the Raiders jump out to a lead they would never relinquish.
“You have to get off to a good start against this team because they’re so young,” Pacher said. “They have a lot of great players, but they start three freshmen and play some young guys. The longer they stick around, the more confidence they get, so you just try to put them away early to destroy some of the confidence they have coming into the game.”
Cole Darling and Miles Dixon each added four rebounds for WSU.
Pressure points: The Wright State defense held Valparaiso to 23 points in the first half. The last time the Raiders held a team to a lower score in the first 20 minutes was six weeks ago against … Valpo.
Wright State held the Crusaders to 22 in the first half and 23 in the second half in a 62-45 win Jan. 10.
“We held them to 25 or less in the two halves at their place, and I thought if we could do it again we’d win the game,” Donlon said. “We did a good job of turning them over in the first half.”
The Raiders forced Valpo into 11 first-half turnovers and 20 for the game.
Young advances: Wright State senior forward Jerran Young has moved on to the second round of the 2014 State Farm Dark Horse Dunker competition.
The winner of the four-round competition will compete in the Slam Dunk and 3-Point Championship live on ESPN during Final Four weekend.
Fans determine the winner by voting daily at www.facebook.com/collegeslam.
Young is paired against Angelo State’s Kenny Williams, and second-round voting ends Monday. The other six quarterfinalists are Jordan Adams (Western State Colorado), Kevin Anthony (Lycoming), Mike Kaufman (Lesley), Macrus Lewis (Eastern Kentucky), Justin Simmons (Nebraska Omaha) and Brison White (Northwestern State).