Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Monday's leading scorer and rebounder, Nick Richards, against Bloomsburg, taken by Frank Stallworth.
SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - - The long distance shooting of Shippensburg took down the Wilmington University men's basketball team on Monday night, 78-62, in nonconference action at the Heiges Field House.
Over a third of the Red Raiders' (5-0) made field goals came from behind the three-point arc (11 out of 30) as they jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. The Wildcats (3-3) have now lost three straight games after starting 3-0, getting off to slow starts in all three losses.
The Red Raiders got off to a 7-0 lead by shooting 3-of-5 from the floor in the opening two minutes. Leading 10-5, the home team rattled off another seven straight, hitting another three-pointer to take a 17-5 lead in the opening 6:11 of the contest.
Nick Richards started a 7-0 of their own for the Wildcats, as an Omari Dill-Pettiford three-pointer brought the Wildcats to within 22-18 about halfway through the opening 20 minutes. But that would be only one of three three-pointers the Wildcats hit in the game, all coming in the first half.
From there, the Red Raiders out scored the Wildcats, 14-3, over the next five minutes of game-time, opening the margin to 36-21. They also hit three-pointers on their next three possessions, taking a 46-27 lead with 2:05 left in the half. The home team eventually took a 47-30 lead into the break.
The second half started just as it ended with a Shippensburg three-pointer, widening the lead to 50-32. A Richards' jumper and two free throws each from Tyaire Ponzo-Meek and Brian Adkins brought the Wildcats to within 12 points, 50-38, but that would be as close as the Wildcats would get in the second half. A quick 8-0 run for the home team, including two more three-pointers, gave the Red Raiders a 58-38 advantage with 14:42 to play.
The Wildcats held the advantage in the paint, 32-28, but they only shot 3-of-14 from deep, including 0-for-5 in the second half. The Red Raiders assisted on 21 of their 30 buckets, compared to the Wildcats seven assists on 25 made baskets.
Ponzo-Meek and Richards paced the Wildcats with 18 points each while Richards grabbed nine rebounds to lead the team. Dill-Pettiford came off the bench to score 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
Six different Red Raiders hit a three-pointer in the game, led by Antonio Kellem and Justin McCarthur's three each. Dustin Sleva sank 22 points to lead the Rad Raiders, which was ranked seventh in Monday's D2SIDA Men's Basketball Atlantic Region Poll.
The Wildcats return home on Wednesday but remain facing PSAC opponents when they host Millersville at the WU Athletics Complex. They cap a nonconference doubleheader on Wednesday, starting after the women's team at 8:00 p.m.