DETROIT — The Wright State University men’s basketball Team captured the 2018 Little Caesars Horizon League Championship the first time since 2007 on March 6 with a 74-57 win over Cleveland State.
Grant Benzinger, named MVP of the Tournament, led the way with 19 points, nine rebounds and three steals while freshman Loudon Love, also named to the All-Tournament Team, had nine points and 12 boards. Cole Gentry and Jaylon Hall each added 11 points.
This is the third NCAA Division I tournament appearance for the Raiders as they won the 1993 Mid-Continent Conference title over the University of Illinois Chicago and the 2007 Horizon League title over Butler. This is the first conference championship away from WSU’s Nutter Center. The Raiders are 25-9, a new program record for division I wins at Wright State.
In the first half, the Vikings led much of the first 10 minutes of the first half until Jaylon Hall hit a three to tie it at 17. Mark Hughes three gave the Raiders a 22-21 lead. WSU’s 13-2 run over six minutes led to a 27-21 Raider advantage, including a three pointer from Parker Ernsthausen. Wright State led 34-26 at halftime.
In the second half, the Raiders outscored the Vikings 40-31 in the second 20 minutes. WSU shot 52 percent from the field, going 16 of 31. Wright State had 20 rebounds while CSU had 12.
Love set a new freshman scoring record previously owned by Bill Edwards in 1990. Wright State outscored the Vikings in the paint 34-22 and 17-8 off the bench. Cleveland State’s largest lead was five midway through the first half as WSU had its biggest lead of 18 late in the game.
The Raiders shot 43 percent from the field and CSU shot 40 percent. WSU won the boards 40-30.