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College Basketball Continues During COVID-19 At The Nutter Center

Players warm up for a COVID-friendly game at Wright State's Ervin J. Nutter Center in Dayton
Players warm up for a COVID-friendly game at Wright State's Ervin J. Nutter Center in Dayton

Despite the pandemic, college basketball is back in the Miami Valley.

At the virtually empty Ervin J. Nutter Center in Fairborn over the weekend, there was a regional matchup between the Wright State Raiders and the visiting Miami University RedHawks. It was each team’s second game of the season.

Things were different. Wright State redshirt senior standout Loudon Love smiled and waved his arms in the air to pump-up the non-existent crowd as he and his team ran onto the court from the locker room. There wasn’t enough room for both teams to stand socially distanced for the national anthem on the court. The Miami players stood in the hallway outside their locker room. The coaches and most players on the bench wore masks. Instead of thousands of fans, there were a hundred or so cardboard cutouts.

An experienced and physical Wright State team controlled most of the game. Miami did cut the lead to six points before halftime but, in the end, Wright State defeated Miami 71 to 47 for their first win of the season.

There were other COVID precautions as well. There were multiple hand sanitizer stations set up for players and referees. Also, one Wright State staff member was cleaning balls throughout the game with a spray bottle and towel. Each time play stopped the ball was replaced with a new, clean one.

Environmental reporter Chris Welter is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

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Miami Redshirt Junior Guard Isaiah Coleman-Lands crosses half court in the second half of the Redhawks game against Wright State. Cardboard cutouts watch from the first few rows.
Chris Welter / WYSO
Miami Redshirt Junior Guard Isaiah Coleman-Lands crosses half court in the second half of the Redhawks game against Wright State. Cardboard cutouts watch from the first few rows.
A Wright State staff-member disinfects game balls with a spray bottle and towel.
Chris Welter / WYSO
A Wright State staff-member disinfects game balls with a spray bottle and towel.