Wright State coach Billy Donlon plans to shake DePaul coach Oliver Purnell’s hands before today’s 2 p.m. game in Chicago and thank him.
In a roundabout way, the former Dayton Flyers coach Purnell helped Donlon get the head coaching job at Wright State. Purnell left Clemson for DePaul in 2010, and Wright State coach Brad Brownell left Wright State for Clemson. Donlon then got Brownell’s job. That’s how the coaching carousel works sometimes.
Donlon and Purnell both have at least one thing in common today: they both lost their second game Wednesday after winning their season opener.
The Raiders routed Mount St. Joseph 82-49 on Sunday, but fell to 1-1 with an 88-70 loss at Georgetown. The Blue Demons beat Grambling State 96-58 on Saturday and then lost 75-68 to Southern Mississippi.
Wright State outscored the Hoyas 39-38 in the second half, but Donlon knows that’s a bit of fool’s gold.
“When you’re down that much, there are two things that are going to happen,” he said. “You’re going to fight because you don’t want to get completely embarrassed, and the other team knows they don’t have to put the foot all the way down on the accelerator.
“There are some positives to take from the game, but ultimately, it lets us know where we are. We hadn’t played anybody of that caliber in a long time. For some of our guys, it reminded us maybe of the fact that we’re behind.”
Senior forward Cole Darling, returning from a foot sprain, played only one minute against Georgetown. He looked good in practice Thursday, Donlon said, and should play more today.
Junior guard Reggie Arceneaux played 14 minutes and might have played more, but once the score got out of hand, Donlon decided not to play him more so as to not make his hamstring injury any worse.
“I think because of injuries we’re about a month behind where we would be if the majority of our guys were healthy,” Donlon said. “We’re going to have to work to catch up.”
Note: Two Wright State recruits announced they signed their national letters of intent on Wednesday: guard Grant Benzinger of Cincinnati Moeller; and Grant Evans, a guard from Wapahani (Ind.).
Wright State at DePaul, 2 p.m., Fox Sports Ohio (tape delayed at 4 p.m.), 106.5