Buzzer beater thwarts WSU comeback bid

By Scott Halasz - [email protected]

FAIRBORN — In about 6.5 seconds on Dec. 5 the Wright State Raiders went from jubilation to anguish.

That’s all the time it took for Miami University’s Darrian Ringo to dribble down the court and pass to Isaiah Coleman-Lands, who drained a contested 3-point shot as time expired to give the visiting RedHawks a 65-62 win at the Nutter Center in front off 4,095 shocked fans.

That basket came after WSU’s Bill Wampler drained a 3-pointer to tie the score at 62 and give the Raiders a shot at a win after playing catch-up in the second half.

Coleman-Lands, who scored just six points, made the long-range basket with a hand in his face after the Raiders switched to a zone for the first time in order to stop the dribble penetration, which was hurting WSU all night.

“He just hit a tough shot at the end,” WSU guard Mark Hughes said. “You definitely live with that shot. The game of basketball people hit tough shots all the time. Credit to him for sure.”

The shot spoiled the dramatic second-half comeback by the 4-5 Raiders, who trailed by as many as 12 in a rather sluggish first half. Skyelar Potter scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, while Wampler scored 10 of his 17 in the second half.

After shooting just 28 percent in the first half, the Raiders shot a blistering 56.5 percent in the second half and also limited Miami (5-4) to just 40 percent from the field after watching them make 50 percent in the first half.

“I’m really proud of our guys in the second half,” Coach Scott Nagy said. “First half was really a struggle. We’ve had some of those clunkers already. We were soft in the first half. We were good defensively in the second half and we were better offensively.”

Down 30-21 at halftime, WSU cut the lead to six about five minutes into the half, and then down 38-27 with 14:41 left, WSU went on a 13-3 run to cut the score to 41-40.

Parker Ernsthausen started the run with a conventional 3-point play and after a basket by Hughes, Potter scored six straight for WSU before Malachi Smith made a fast-break layup to force a Miami timeout.

The RedHawks upped the lead to 43-40 with 11:56 left, but the Raiders outscored Miami 12-5 during the next seven minutes to take a 52-48 lead with 5:20 left. Nike Sibande made a 3-pointer to cut it to 52-51 with 4:56 left and then Miami went on a 9-5 mini run to take a 60-57 lead with 2:02 left after Sibande made one of two from the free throw line.

Cole Gentry made a pair of free throws with 1:51 left to cut it to 60-59 and then Ringo made a layup after rebounding his own shot with 19 seconds left to set up the frenetic final seconds.

It’s the Raiders third loss in four games and all three losses were winnable. But WSU isn’t looking for any consolation prizes.

“At the end of the day it’s a loss,” Hughes said. “Close isn’t going to get us another championship.”

Neither is being out-rebounded 38-28, and Nagy and the Raiders know it.

“Rebounding was a factor in the game,” he said. “You win the glass by 10, your chances of winning are about 100 percent. We need our guards to rebound like forwards.”

The Raiders visit Kent State, another MAC team, Saturday and also have a game against the SEC’s Mississippi State looming. Despite three losses in four games, the defending Horizon League champs are confident they can overcome a slow start.

“We’re making steps in the right direction,” Wampler said. “Just got to figure it out.”

By Scott Halasz

[email protected]

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.