Trailing by 21 points with 14:02 remaining in regulation, the Wilmington University men's basketball team cut the deficit to a single bucket but Chestnut Hill pulled away late to capture an 85-73 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference victory on Wednesday night at the WU Athletics Complex.
The Wildcats (0-7, 0-2 CACC) found themselves down 55-34 with 14:02 remaining in regulation but used a 32-13 run over the next 8:43 to get to within two points late in the contest. Chestnut Hill (2-4, 1-0 CACC) took the punch by the Wildcats but didn't drop, regaining their composure to reestablish a 10-point lead with 1:42 to play.
The late game comeback was due to a to a 9:32 drought in the first half which allowed the Griffins to grab a 19-5 lead with 8:11 to play. The Wildcats scoreless drought ended with the second free throw by Tyaire Ponzo-Meek. The Griffins continued to extend their lead however, gaining as large as a 19-point lead, 35-16, with 3:15 left in the first half. Chestnut Hill went into the halftime break leading 40-24.
Kevin Ohen took the game into his own hands in the second half to lead the comeback, hitting a three-pointer with 12:41 left to start a personal 8-0 run to bring the Wildcats to within single digits at 57-48. He hit back-to-back three-pointers and stepped inside for another jumper on three-straight possessions for the Wildcats.
Prophet Kates cut the deficit to four with 7:36 to play with a pair of free throws before the Griffins extended the lead back out to six moments later. A pair from the line by Ponzo-Meek with 4:56 had the Wildcats at four point again before Ohen put in a layup with 4:19 to get to within 68-66 with 4:19 remaining in regulation.
The Wildcats ran out of steam however as the Griffins gathered themselves and put together a run of their own, extending their lead back out to as many 14 points before settling on an 85-73 outcome.
Ohen led the Wildcats with 21 points, hitting 4-of-7 from three-point land and 6-of-14 from the floor for the game. He also collected nine rebounds and picked up three steals. Ponzo-Meek finished with 16 points while dishing out four assists and grabbing five rebounds. Shai Henry grabbed a game high 10 rebounds while adding eight points and two assists.
The Wildcats shot 41.7 percent from the floor in the second half, but just 34.3 percent for the game following a 26.5 percent first half performance. The Griffins shot 51.9 percent from the floor in the first half to lead them to the big lead, finishing at 46.3 percent from the floor for the game. They went 28-of-39 from the foul line for the contest.
Wilmington returns to CACC play on Saturday as the Wildcats head to Waterbury, Conn., for a North/South crossover game at Post University. The men's game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. tip.