A record setting night led the Wilmington University men's basketball team past Mercy, 99-69, in nonconference action on Monday night at the WU Athletics Complex.
The team saw the ball go through the net a record 39 times as the Wildcats (2-7) shot 55.7 percent (39-of-70) from the floor, including 14-of-29 from beyond the three-point arc. The loss was the fourth in a row for the Mavericks (3-4) after starting the season 3-0.
The 14 made three-pointers are the second most in program history, behind the 17 the Wildcats made against Georgian Court a season ago. The Wildcats went 7-of-17 from deep in the first half before hitting 7-of-12 in the second half.
The Wildcats made their move halfway through the first half as Shai Henry started an 8-0 run with a jumper with 10:05 remaining in the half. Henry capped the run with another jumper to give the Wildcats a 28-16 lead with 8:47 remaining.
Although the Mavericks scored to break the spurt, the Wildcats continued their run to finish with a 17-4 stretch overall over a 4:06 stretch to take a 37-18 lead with 6:17 left in the first stanza. A pair of free throws by Kevin Ohen with 3:18 remaining came the Wildcats their first 20-point advantage of the contest before Ohen hit a jumper with 49 seconds left to put the Wildcats ahead 55-30 going into the halftime break.
Three straight buckets by Tyaire Ponzo-Meek on Wilmington possessions kick started the sophomore's second half, as he went for 18 points after going into the halftime break scoreless. Ohen hit a jumper to put the Wildcats up 30 for the first time with 17:58 remaining in regulation.
Mercy cut the deficit to as few as 21 points with 8:34 to play but the Wildcats responded with an 11-1 run, capped by a Ponzo-Meek three-pointer, to go up 88-57 with 5:51 to play. A Jalen Henriquez three-pointer gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the night, 97-60, with 3:19 showing on the scoreboard.
Senior Valentino Thompson led the Wildcats with a double-double, scoring a game high 20 points while dishing out 10 assists off the bench. He did not commit a turnover in the contest. Ohen finished with 19 points, Ponzo-Meek 18 points, and Sam Sanders added 14 points. Thompson and Ohen each shot 7-of-11 from the field while Thompson and Ponzo-Meek each went 4-of-6 from three-point territory. Ponzo-Meek dished out seven assists without committing a turnover as well.
The 30-point victory was the team's second largest margin of victory in its NCAA era and best finish against an NCAA Division II school since joining the NCAA ranks for the 2004-05 season. The team doubled up Penn State-Abington, 76-38, for on November 21, 2008.
The Wildcats return to Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference action on Wednesday when they host Georgian Court for a CACC doubleheader with the women at the WU Athletics Complex. The men start the night with a 6 p.m. tip.