The Journal Gazette
 
 
Friday, December 03, 2021 1:00 am

'Step slow' Mastodons fall in conference opener

JOSH PATTERSON | For The Journal Gazette

Purdue Fort Wayne's men's basketball team felt the wrath of a frustrated Wright State squad Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum. The Raiders, who returned to action after an eight-day layoff, shot a blistering 74% in the first half and knocked off the Mastodons 86-73 in the Horizon League opener for both squads.

“I thought we were a step slow to start,” PFW coach Jon Coffman said. “I thought our focus wasn't there, and we were pretty inactive and didn't fix it, particularly in that first half. (Wright State) had more attack mode than we did tonight. I know our guys are going to look in the mirror and they're going to learn.”

On the back of that torrid pace before halftime, Wright State (2-5, 1-0) led 47-35 at the break and snapped a five-game slide against NCAA Division I foes.

The victory ended the Raiders' longest losing streak since the 2014-15 season, when the Raiders dropped their final 10 contests. In contrast to the long stretch between games for Wright State, PFW returned to the court just four days after playing three games in as many days at Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Myers, Florida.

The Mastodons (3-4, 0-1) kept it fairly close in the first half thanks in large part to Jarred Godfrey, who scored 18 of his game-best 24 points before the break. But Godfrey's offensive prowess couldn't overcome Tanner Holden, Grant Basile, A.J. Braun and Trey Calvin.

Holden, who entered the contest averaging a team-high 21.8 points per game, led the Raiders with 22. Basile added 19 and Braun, who made just his fourth appearance and first start of the season, finished 8 of 9 from the floor to score 17, more than doubling his season average of 7.8. Calvin scored 14 points.

“If you're playing slow and tired, nothing's going to work,” Coffman said. “We made some adjustments, and there just wasn't the execution.

“We did not execute our post traps. We were really slow, and at times (our post traps) were nonexistent.”

With Wright State taking an 18-point second-half lead with 12:04 to go, back-to-back Ra Kpedi dunks and a Deonte Billups 3-pointer keyed a brief run, though the Mastodons never drew closer than 11 the rest of the way.

The Raiders shot 69% (36 of 52) from the floor, outscoring PFW 56-28 in the paint. Billups added 14 points and Kpedi 12 for PFW.

Godfrey's 24-point night increased his career total to 1,242, passing David Simon's 1,237 to move into 10th place on PFW's career scoring list.


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