NEWARK, Del. - - A cold spell at the end of the first half loomed large for the Wilmington University men's basketball team, as North Division leading Bloomfield took the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference contest, 89-80, on Saturday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
The Wildcats (14-9, 9-5 CACC) had their five-game winning streak snapped with the loss, as Bloomfield (18-4, 13-1 CACC) won their third straight to stay three losses ahead of second place Dominican in the North Division. The Bears are ranked sixth in the latest D2SIDA East Region Poll.
The Wildcats got off to a strong start on their home floor, using three straight layups to break a 19-19 tie and take a 25-19 lead with 11:13 left in the first half. Shawn Church hit a three-pointer and Nick Richards laid one home for their largest lead of the game, 30-23, before Richards added another jumper to regain the seven-point advantage, 32-25, with 7:20 left in the half.
But that is when Bloomfield made its run. A 12-0 spurt put the Bears ahead, 37-32, with 2:59 left as they went on a 21-5 run to close the final seven minutes of the first half. The Bears took a 46-37 lead into the break.
Down 14 with 15:16 left in the second half, the Wildcats dug in defensively to get back into the contest. After a Jermaine Head layup, a steal on the defensive end resulted in a Church three-pointer to get back to a nine-point deficit. Another steal resulted in a Head layup and Paul Medlin brought the Wildcats back to within seven points, 59-52, with a free throw with 13:15 left in regulation.
That would be as close as the Wildcats would be able to get the rest of the way, as Bloomfield slowly extended the lead back to their largest of the game, 76-59, with 7:09 showing on the clock.
The defense began to dig in again, as a Richards' block resulted in a fast break the other way to cut the deficit to 11 points. Danny Walsh hit a three-pointer moments later to get within 79-69 with 3:22 remaining, but the Wildcats couldn't get into the single digits until late. The Bears had an answer for every Wildcat attack. Miles Gillette hit a long three-pointer with 22 seconds left and finalized the score with a layup with three seconds, as the Wildcats fell, 89-80.
Richards extended his 20-point streak to five straight games with a team high 23 points, adding 14 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the year. Richards also added five assists, four steals, and two blocks in the loss. Miles Gillette finished with another double-double (his ninth of the year) with 18 points and 13 rebounds while Head finished with 18 points and five assists. Church was the final Wildcat in double figures with 11 points.
Bloomfield's Keith Washington led all scorers with 28 points while Nick Davidson added 18 points.
The Wildcats reached their conference bye and don't return to action until next Saturday with another tough North Division opponent. The Wildcats head to Dominican on Saturday with a 3:00 p.m. scheduled tip.