It’s been a tough few months on the road for the Wright State men’s basketball team, which lost its first eight away games to start the season.
And despite a 62-45 victory at Valparaiso on Friday, it’s going to get a whole lot tougher being away from home for senior forward AJ Pacher and his family.
Pacher’s parents, Andy and Alyce, were vacationing in Fort Myers, Fla., earlier this week when they got a frantic call Wednesday morning from their daughter Sarah, who told them a pipe had burst on the second floor of their Vandalia home.
“She was off work because of the ice and she said ‘I hear water running somewhere but I don’t know where,’ ” Alyce said. “She was panicking, and when she went downstairs she said water was running down all of our walls. She was so hysterical that I hung up on her and called 911.”
The water caused the ceiling to collapse in their family room, and the utility room, basement and garage also sustained heavy damage.
“It looked like snow because there was insulation everywhere,” Andy said. “We’re not even sure how much we lost until we get into the basement and go through every single box.”
Despite the damage and being forced to live in a motel room for the next two to four weeks, Andy and Alyce made the trip to Valparaiso to watch AJ collect nine points and nine rebounds in the Raiders’ first road win of the season.
“We have never missed one game,” Alyce said.
“The streak is still alive,” Andy added.
AJ rushed to the house upon hearing the news to comfort his sister, and he sent his parents a text as they were running through the airport trying to make their way home. It read, “I have no idea why all of this happened, but everything happens for a reason. We’ll get through this, and I love everyone so much. I can’t wait to see you guys and be with you.”
Surprising stat: A reporter hadn’t even finished his question when Wright State men’s basketball coach Billy Donlon jumped in and began answering it after Friday night’s win.
“Of all the positive numbers on this stat sheet, is there one that …” the reporter began.
“Four turnovers,” Donlon interjected excitedly.
“We were the 301st team in the nation in turning the ball over,” he continued. “That means there’s only 45 teams that do it worse than we do, and we have nine juniors and seniors. It’s the only stat I’ve called our players out on.”
In addition to only giving away the ball four times, the Raiders forced Valpo in 14 turnovers, eight of which came on straight steals.
“We needed every one of those possessions,” Donlon said. “We got 10 more possessions than Valpo tonight because of the turnover difference. And we should because they’re starting a couple of freshmen. When you start juniors and seniors, you should take care of the ball better than a team that starts two freshmen.”
Range finders: Wright State had made just 12 of 58 (20.7 percent) shots from 3-point range in its last three games and 16 of 71 (22.5 percent) in its last four. But the Raiders knocked down 3 of 5 (60 percent) in the first half and finished 6 of 14 (42.9 percent).
Reggie Arceneaux hit a pair, while WSU got one each from Cole Darling, AJ Pacher, Chrishawn Hopkins and Tavares Sledge. For Sledge, it was the first of his career.
Streak snapped: Senior guard Matt Vest had started 53 consecutive games for Wright State before missing Friday’s contest with an undisclosed injury.