After cutting the deficit to single digits halfway through the second half, the Wilmington University men's basketball team dropped an 81-53 decision against Le Moyne to close out the Northeast 10 Challenge hosted by Saint Rose on Sunday afternoon.
Valentino Thompson made a layup with 9:29 to play in the second half to cut the deficit to 56-47 for the Wildcats (0-2), but Le Moyne went on a 9-0 run over the next 2:27 and a 25-6 run over the remainder of the game for the victory.
The Dolphins shot 50 percent from the floor for the game, hitting 30-of-60 shots, including 18-31 (58.1 percent) in the second half.
Trailing 10-4 early in the game, Drew Johnson started a 6-0 run to tie the match, as Sam Sanders hit a pair of free throws and a jumper to knot the game with 12:40 to play in the first half.
Tyaire Ponzo-Meek retied the contest with a three-pointer with 10:56 left in the first half with a three-pointer before the Dolphins went on a 19-9 run to take a 10-point lead with 3:40 to play before the break.
Ponzo-Meek hit another three-pointer to bring it to 32-25 before Kevin Ohen went 1-of-2 from the line to bring the Wildcats to within six, the closest the Wildcats would get for the rest of the contest. The Dolphins went into the break leading 34-26.
Le Moyne scored the first 10 points of the second half to take an 18-point lead with 17:37 on the clock. The Dolphins' Nate Gouse gave the team a 19 point lead with 13:54 to play before the Wildcats started to make a comeback.
Ponzo-Meek hit another three-pointer to start a 10-0 run to get the game back into single digits. Sanders hit a jumper, a layup, and a three-pointer on the Wildcats' next three possessions to get the game to 52-43 with 11:35 to play.
The teams traded buckets with Thompson putting in a layup with 9:29 to play, but that would be as close as the Wildcats would get for the rest of the game.
The Dolphins' Qwadere Lovell started a 9-0 run with a layup before another 7-0 run pushed Le Moyne's lead to 23 at 72-49 with 4:31 to play. Zach Quattro gave the Dolphins their largest lead of the game with a three-pointer with 2:36 to play, 81-53.
Sanders led the Wildcats with 23 points off the bench, shooting 8-for-16 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the foul line. He also tied Ta'Vaune Griffin for the team lead with six rebounds, and Thompson with a team high three assists on the afternoon. Ponzo-Meek hit 3-of-6 three three-point territory and finished with 12 points off the bench.
The Wildcats are back in action on Wednesday as they head to Shippensburg for another nonconference contest. Wednesday's game is set for a 7 p.m. tip.