The Wilmington University men's basketball team tried to comeback from another double digit halftime deficit, but Dominican held down and took a 75-62 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference contest on Saturday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
Vying for a program best fifth consecutive victory, the Wildcats (8-16, 7-8 CACC) trailed by 11 at the halftime break and was looking to make one of its patented second half comebacks, but the Chargers (11-11, 11-4 CACC) held on for the win.
The Chargers, the top team in the CACC North Division, scored the final eight points of the first half to take a 46-35 lead into the locker room. Dominicans Nick Smith shot 9-of-12 from the floor in the first half for 18 points.
Ta'Vaune Griffin sparked the Wildcats to open the second half with a jumper before Valentino Thompson laid one home on the next possession. Kevin Ohen sank a three-pointer from the right wing to make it a 7-0 run to start the second half, cutting the deficit to 46-42 with 18:31 left in regulation.
Thompson had a three-pointer on the Wildcats next possession to cut the deficit to a single point, but the ball bounced out and the Chargers took advantage. Dominican's John Decker hit his three-pointer on the ensuing possession to widen the gap back out to seven points, and the Wildcats wouldn't get any closer.
Smith hid a baseline jumper to give the Chargers an 11-point lead once more before the visitors had the lead out to as many as 16 points with 11:34 to play in regulation.
Three-straight Wilmington buckets brought the Wildcats to within 63-53 with 9:11 to play, but the home team could never get back to within single digits for the rest of the half.
Thompson shot 10-of-20 from the field including 3-of-8 from beyond the three-point arc to lead the Wildcats with a season high 23 points while Tyaire Ponzo-Meek scored 13 points and dished out eight assists. Griffin was a point away from a double-double, scoring nine point while grabbing a game high 13 rebounds, five of which were on the offensive glass. Shai Henry added nine points and six rebounds as well.
The Wildcats started 3-for-3 from the floor in the second half but shot just 36.4 percent when all said and done in the second stanza. The Wildcats shot 41.9 percent for the game, compared to the Chargers' 52.0 percent.
The Chargers went 17-of-28 from the foul line on Saturday while the Wildcats only made it to the charity stripe on five occasions, hitting three of them.
Despite the loss, the Wildcats remain two games ahead of Goldey-Beacom for the fourth and final spot in the CACC Tournament. The Wildcats have and Lightning have four games remaining in the CACC, including a bought against each other on February 17.
The Wildcats remain home for one more contest, as they welcome CACC South Division leaders USciences to the WU Athletics Complex on Tuesday night. The men open the CACC doubleheader with a 6 p.m. tip.