Oakland (5-10) at Wright State (8-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 2, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Nutter Center (10,400) -- Dayton, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: OU 5-2, WSU 7-0. Away Record: OU 0-6, WSU 0-7. Neutral Record: OU 0-2, WSU 1-0. Conference Record: OU 0-0, WSU 0-0. Series Record: Wright State leads, 4-2.
GAME NOTES: The Oakland Golden Grizzlies will make their Horizon League debut on Thursday when they visit the Nutter Center to take on the Wright State Raiders.
Although Oakland is sitting five games below the .500 mark, it has played much better since beginning the season with seven consecutive setbacks with three of the losses coming courtesy of ranked opponents. Coach Greg Kampe's Golden Grizzlies built up some steam heading into their conference slate with three wins in their final four outings of December. Oakland defeated Illinois State (90-75) and lost to Eastern Michigan in overtime before knocking off Robert Morris (100-94) and Division III foe Defiance (87-66) to improve to a 5-10 record. All five of the Grizzlies' victories came at home and they are 0-6 in true road tests.
The Raiders earned their third win in a row on Sunday as they held off Bowling Green for a 46-43 win. Wright State missed all 13 of its attempts from 3-point range, but outscored the Falcons 30-18 in the paint to improve to 8-7 on the season. Wright State had not finished a game without a made 3-pointer since the 2005-06 season. Coach Billy Donlon's team has outscored its opposition by an average of seven ppg and owns a 7-0 record at the Nutter Center.
This will be the seventh meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. The Raiders are 4-2 against Oakland, including a 2-1 record since the Grizzlies joined the Division I ranks.
The Grizzlies have a pair of national leaders in their backcourt in seniors Travis Bader and Duke Mondy. Bader is averaging 4.8 makes from beyond the arc per game to pace all Division I players, while Mondy is registering 4.18 steals per outing. Bader's outside shooting in addition to his 93.2 percent efficiency at the free-throw line has helped him average a Horizon League best 22.1 ppg. Corey Petros has also been a key player for Oakland with contributions of 13.9 ppg and 8.3 rpg. Bader poured in 34 points to spearhead the charge in the team's recent win over Defiance. Freshman point guard Kahlil Felder has handed out 19 assists over the last two games.
A.J. Pacher tallied 14 points and nine rebounds for Wright State in its low- scoring affair against BGSU. WSU's tenacity on the defensive end was evident in the contest as it forced the Falcons into 21 turnovers. Miles Dixon contributed 13 points on 5-of-9 from the floor for the Raiders. Pacher is averaging a team-best 10.7 ppg while converting 69.7 percent of his attempts to lead the Horizon League in field goal percentage. Donlon's strategy of applying intense pressure on the defensive end of the floor requires him to use a deep rotation. As a result, 12 different Raiders are clocking more than 10 minutes per game to this point in the season.
WSU's chances in this one will hinge on its ability to contain Bader. Oakland's lights out shooter can take over a game if he gets into a rhythm, but the Raiders will most likely be able to limit Bader's success with their stifling defense. The hosts will need to establish a leader on the floor to strive in conference play, which is possible if Pacher continues to dominate offensively.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wright State 68, Oakland 63
01/02 10:31:31 ET