Billy Donlon doesn’t plan to cook turkey on Thanksgiving. He’ll probably make what he calls his “famous baked ziti,” though that could depend on how well his Wright State basketball team plays at 7 tonight against Alcorn State.
The Raiders don’t get a break for the holiday. They’ve got that home game tonight and a 3 p.m. game Saturday against Western Carolina at the Nutter Center.
A year ago, Wright State was in Utah on Thanksgiving. Two years ago, it had a game in Florida the day before Thanksgiving and a home game against Charlotte two days after the holiday.
Only A.J. Pacher and Matt Vest are from Ohio, so most of the players will be away from home for Thanksgiving.
“I tell our guys, ‘Hopefully, you’ll live 75 or 80 years, and there’s four Thanksgivings and four Christmases over those 80 years you have to sacrifice,’ ” Donlon said. “At the end of the day, that’s not a big deal. Do I wish they were all with their families? Do I wish we were all with our families? Of course. But this is our family. That’s our Thanksgiving approach.”
The Raiders fell to 3-3 with a 74-70 loss to South Alabama in Mobile, Ala., on Saturday. They have allowed at 88, 81 and 74 points in their three losses. Last season, Wright State allowed 70 or more points only three times all season.
“We’re not guarding well,” Donlon said. “For five and a half minutes to start the game, we hold South Alabama to seven points. At that pace, they’re going to score about 56. Then the next four minutes, they score 12. We’re not defending.”
On the other hand, Wright State averages 75.3 points per game, a 13-point improvement from last season.
“If you just use the Division I games, this is probably the best we’ve been offensively in eight years: points, field-goal percentage, 3-point field-goal percentage,” Donlon said. “That’s great. It makes our fans and everybody else happy. But it’s also been the worst we’ve ever guarded. We’ve got to get that turned back in order to have the season we want to have.”
Alcorn State at Wright State, 7 p.m., 106.5