Millersville caught fire in the second half, leading to a 99-76 men's basketball victory over Wilmington University in the Wildcats final nonconference contest of the season on Monday night at Pucillo Gymnasium.
The run started in the final 6:08 of the first half as the Marauders (10-9) broke a 25-25 tie to lead 41-33 at the halftime break. Despite the Wildcats (4-14) scoring 43 points in the second half, the Marauders shot 57.1 from the floor, including seven three-pointers, to earn the victory.
Millersville jumped out to a quick 11-5 lead in the first five minutes before the Wildcats got into the swing of things. A pair of three-pointers by Valentino Thompson bookended a 10-0 run for the Wildcats to give the visitors a 15-11 lead with 11:09 to play in the first half.
The Marauders scored six straight points to lead 17-15 before the teams battled back and forth for the next five minutes. A Ta'Vaune Griffin jumper tied the game for the fourth time of the first half at 25-25, but the Marauders then used a 9-0 run over the next 1:40 of game play to lead 34-25. The lead grew to as large as 14 in the first half before the Wildcats scored the final six points of the half, capped by a layup from Rashaun Rasheed, sending the teams into the break, 41-33, in favor of the home team.
A Tyrik Gass tip-in had the Wildcats to within five points with 14:26 left in regulation, but Millersville used an 8-1 spurt to regain a 12-point lead with 11:53 showing on the scoreboard.
Leading 61-53, Millersville went on 15-4 run to expand the lead out to 19 with 6:30 remaining in regulation. The Wildcats could only close to within 15 points for the remainder of the contest while the Marauder lead grew to as large as 25 points before settling on the 99-76 final.
Millersville went 20-of-35 from the floor in the second half, hitting 7-of-16 from deep. The home team used 11 steals to hold an 18-10 advantage on the fast-break while also outscoring Wilmington, 21-13, on points of turnovers.
Despite sinking 17 buckets in the second half, the Wildcats shot 39.5 percent from the floor and finished 30-of-81 from the floor for the game. Thompson went 2-of-5 from three-point territory while the Wildcats went 4-of-18 from deep as a team for the game.
Rasheed led the Wildcats with 16 points and nine boards off the bench, shooting 7-for-11 from the field. Six of his rebounds came on the offensive glass while he also picked up the lone block of the game for the Wildcats. Tyaire Ponzo-Meek finished with 14 points while hitting 7-of-8 from the foul line and dishing out a team high four assists. Thompson was the final Wildcat to reach double digits with 12 points while grabbing seven rebounds.
The Wildcats return to Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference action and to the WU Athletics Complex this week, as they host Holy Family on Wednesday and Nyack on Saturday. The men will play first in the CACC doubleheader on Wednesday, tipping off at 6 p.m.