Weber State basketball Wright State 01

Weber State guard Jerrick Harding (10) gathers to shoot a 3-pointer against the defense of Wright State's Jaylon Hall (0) during a Gulf Coast Showcase first-round game Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, in Estero, Fla.

Weber State men's basketball seemed to have answers early despite a barrage of buckets from Wright State senior guard Bill Wampler.

But WSU's defense began to break down late in the half and the Raiders strung together a 13-0 run.

"We didn't compete hard enough in that stretch," WSU head coach Randy Rahe said. "They got aggressive and pushed us back on our heels, and we didn't compete hard enough ... that last 10 minutes didn't look like us, and that's what we've got to get to."

Weber State couldn't dig out of a big hole and the Raiders took a 72-57 victory Monday in the first round of the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida.

Wright State (5-1) used that run to build a 39-23 halftime lead. Weber State (1-3) couldn't make shots, shooting 9 of 31 in the half. Wampler, on the other hand, couldn't miss, shooting 7 of 10 and scoring 20 points in the frame.

Wampler went on to score a game-high 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting.

Jerrick Harding led the Wildcats with 21 points. He shot 8 of 15 (53%) in the game, while the rest of the team shot 14 of 45 (31%).

That included a 0-of-12 mark from fellow senior Cody John, who grabbed a team-high nine rebounds but managed just 1 point, a hindrance to any potential Weber State comeback efforts.

"Can't go 0 for 12. Going to have to do better than that. He will, he's a senior, he'll do better. But it's hard to overcome that," Rahe said. "(The loss) is not his fault, but he'll play better. He's a tough kid, he'll get his confidence going."

Freshman guard KJ Cunningham joined Harding in double digits with 10 points, shooting 2 of 3 from deep — the only Wildcat to make more than one 3-pointer Monday.

Wright State used another run that began just before halftime and ballooned to a 17-3 run early in the second half, leading to the Raiders' biggest lead at 49-26 with 16:29 to go.

The Wildcats then began to find some success defensively, forcing Wright State into two field-goal droughts of three or more minutes. But Weber couldn't string together enough makes offensively to take advantage.

Weber State's biggest push came with five minutes left. Harding and Michal Kozak each hit jumpers to get things going, then Austin Galuppo hit a deep jumper while being fouled to beat the shot clock.

He made his free throw on the other side of a timeout, giving Weber a 7-1 run and cutting the deficit to 65-53 with 3:51 left.

Kham Davis scored 8 points and Kozak added 7, and the two combined to shoot 7 of 12.

Wright State junior center Loudon Love, a 6-foot-8 and 260 pound center who is a returning all-conference first team player, held a significant size advantage over Weber's starting center and sophomore Dima Zdor, who is rostered at 215 pounds.

Weber looked to freshman center Tim Fuller (6-foot-9, 235) to make an impact. He blocked one shot, altered several others and grabbed six rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.

"I thought Timmy really competed hard. That's one of the best big kids we're going to see all year, probably," Rahe said. "He's a load, and Timmy just fought him ... he didn't like the physicality Tim was putting on him."

Love ended with 17 points and 12 rebounds, but Fuller helped cut his field-goal attempts in half and only three of Love's rebound came after halftime.

Weber State regroups quickly Tuesday to face the loser of Murray State (3-1) and La Salle (1-2), which was the final game of the Monday slate. That game tips at 11:30 a.m. MST.

Contact Brett Hein at bhein@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @bhein3/@WeberHQ and at facebook.com/WeberStateSports.

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