Injuries are nothing new to the Wright State men’s basketball team, which has had its full complement of players for only two of the 29 games this season.
But for senior forward Jerran Young, who had appeared in all 64 games since transferring to WSU prior to his junior year, sitting out was an unfamiliar feeling.
Young suffered a shoulder injury in practice Thursday and was in street clothes for Friday night’s 65-61 victory against Detroit at the Nutter Center.
But his absence opened the door for junior forward Tavares Sledge, who responded by tying his career high with nine rebounds while playing 21 minutes.
“I thought Tavares’ energy defensively really, really helped us,” Wright State coach Billy Donlon said.
It could have been an ugly evening without Sledge’s presence because even with his team-high nine rebounds, the Raiders still got beat 41 to 26 on the glass.
“He was huge,” added senior forward AJ Pacher. “He rebounded the ball great. Nine rebounds. That’s incredible. He played great defense, too, so he was big tonight.
Halftime hump: Wright State had been 0-9 in games in which it trailed at the half before rallying to win the last two.
The Raiders were down by six Sunday at Oakland and eventually fell behind by as many as 13 before ending the game on a 12-2 run to pull out a 72-71 victory.
Friday night against Detroit, the halftime deficit was only one, but the Titans hit a 3-pointer on their first possession of the second half to go up four. WSU responded with a 14-4 run and made it stand up for the only lead change of the game.
“Once the first half is played, you can’t go back and rewrite the score,” WSU coach Billy Donlon said. “You just try to make the best adjustments you can for the second half.”
Fun foreshadowing: Wright State junior guard Reggie Arceneaux redeemed himself Friday night just a few hours after ruining coach Billy Donlon’s day.
“He beat me in H-O-R-S-E today,” Donlon laughed. “It was me and him in the finals. He made like eight in a row.”
Arceneaux wasn’t that hot in the game, but he was close. After the Raiders failed to score in the first 8 minutes and 45 seconds, Arceneaux knocked down two 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to get the offense rolling.
He added another trey a few minutes later to tie his season high of three, and he finished with 15 points, which were his most since putting up 17 on Jan. 17 in a 79-69 loss against Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Fan appreciation: Despite the rare 10 o’clock start Friday night, Wright State drew a Nutter Center crowd of 5,024, its second largest of the season.
“The crowd was phenomenal,” WSU coach Billy Donlon said. “Credit (athletic director) Bob Grant and his staff for that crowd at 10 o’clock at night. And credit out students. All this talk that we’re a commuter school? Let me tell you something: With our students that just showed up at 10 o’c lock on a Friday night, you can put the commuter school thing to bed.
“That’s an unbelievable turnout by our students,” he added. “I can’t thank the community enough and the students enough for what they did for our team tonight, because they just helped us win a game.”
The largest crowd of the season was 6,600 against Green Bay on Jan. 17, which also was a Friday night.