Senior Rashaun Rasheed hit a jumper from the left side with 1.0 seconds left with to propel the Wilmington University men's basketball team past Dominican, 69-67, in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Quarterfinal matchup on Saturday afternoon at the Hennessy Center.
The Wildcats (10-19) are the fourth seed from the South Division while the Chargers (14-13) were the North Division Regular Season Champions and top seed. The playoff victory was the first postseason victory in Wilmington men's basketball NCAA era, dating back to the 2004-05 season.
Dominican battled back from a 12-point deficit in the second half to tie the game with 33 seconds left on a fastbreak three-point play. The Wildcats held the ball on the last possession with the shot-clock unplugged.
Letting his players figure it out, first year head coach Dan Burke did not call a timeout on the last possession, keeping the ball in senior Valentino Thompson's hands. As he made his move to the bucket with under 10 seconds to play, three Chargers collapsed on the ball handler while Thompson dished it out to classmate Rasheed on the pick and pop.
Rasheed calmly pulled up from the left elbow extended, hitting the jumper as the clock showed 1.0 seconds remaining. Dominican was unable to hit the halfcourt shot as time expired, giving the Wildcats their first postseason victory and allowing them to advance to the CACC Semifinals hosted at Philadelphia University on Friday.
The Wildcats led for 36:16 out of a possible 40 minutes on Saturday, taking the lead in the first minute of the second half and never looking back until the final minute.
With the score tied at 36-36 at the half, the Wildcats used an 11-2 spurt to grab a 47-38 lead with 14:34 left in regulation. Tyrik Gass gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the second half with a wide open layup off a dish from Rasheed with 8:52 to play before the Chargers made their move.
A pair from the foul line and a three-pointer quickly cut the Wildcats' lead in half before another three-pointer brought the Chargers to within a single point at 61-60 with 4:18 to play.
Thompson hit a pair of clutch free throws with 1:37 to play and the Wildcats came up with a steal on the defensive end on the next possession but couldn't make the Chargers pay with a missed three-pointer. Robert Hueston got loose off the miss put in a fast break layup while being fouled, tying the game with the free throw and 33 seconds left, setting up the heroics from Rasheed.
Rasheed finished with six points but 2-of-2 from the floor while Tyaire Ponzo-Meek led the Wildcats with 17 points. Kevin Ohen scored 16 points while Ta'Vaune Griffin grabbed a game high 14 rebounds. Griffin also came up with five blocked shots on the defensive end.
The Wildcats out-rebounded the Chargers, 50-35, including a 25-12 advantage on the offensive glass. Wilmington shot 39.1 percent from the floor but had 18 more opportunities than Dominican. The Wildcats remarkably went 0-for-12 from beyond the three-point arc and still pulled out the victory.
With the win, the Wildcats move on to play South Division No. 2 Holy Family on Friday in the nightcap at Philadelphia University. The Wildcats and Tigers will follow the USciences and Philadelphia game starting at 5 p.m. with an approximate start time of 7 p.m.