Wright State center Loudon Love didn’t play against Miami in the Gulf Coast Showcase third-place game Wednesday and likely will miss extended time because of a right elbow injury.
But the Raiders showed they’ve got a capable back-up in Grant Basile along with a deep roster, and they won’t be a pushover for any foe while they wait for their star to return.
Basile, a 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman, tallied 17 points and 12 rebounds in a 71-66 victory in Estero, Fla. He scored 19 points in a rout of Urbana last week but was making his first career start.
Jaylon Hall had 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists, and he made four straight free throws in the final 19 seconds to preserve the Raiders’ second win over the RedHawks in 18 days.
Love, a first-team All-Horizon League pick who is averaging 13.6 points and 8.7 rebounds, took a hard fall in the first half of a semifinal loss to La Salle on Tuesday.
“Until we get back and get an MRI, we really don’t know (about his status),” coach Scott Nagy said by phone after the game. “My trainer is telling me two to six weeks. That’s a big span.”
Nagy didn’t know when the MRI would take place. The Raiders’ next game is at home Tuesday against Western Kentucky.
“The way I look at is it’s a blessing in disguise. It forces other guys to have to step up and play — like Grant,” Nagy said. “When we get Loudon back, our bench will be even better. We obviously have to get through this. But we’ve got pretty tough kids, and I think they proved that tonight.”
The Raiders (6-2), who started 4 of 17 from the field, ended the first half on a 10-0 run to take a 34-33 lead.
They built a 61-50 advantage with 9:51 to go but then had to hold on while missing 12 of their final 14 shots.
Mekhi Lairy scored for the RedHawks (4-3) to make it 67-65 with 23 seconds to go. But Hall and the defense took over after that.
Nagy told the team he’s looking at Love’s absence as an opening for others to come through rather than a setback.
“We fill have to fill those points and rebounds — mainly rebounds. That’s where people are going to have to change their game, get physical and tougher,” he said. “But I’ve been through it long enough to know people are going to step up if you demand they do. I can mope around about it or say, ‘This is your opportunity. Let’s go.’”
Basile appears to have gotten the message.
“He honestly didn’t play that good,” Nagy said, “but that tells you how good he is to still get 17 points and 12 rebounds. He missed four free throws and could’ve done even more.
“But he’s starting to figure it out. He’s gaining confidence, and the guys are gaining more confidence in him.”
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