Copyright 2015; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Tyaire Ponzo-Meek by Frank Stallworth.
WEST CHESTER, Pa. - - The Wilmington University men's basketball team ran out of gas in the second overtime as West Chester was able to pull away for a 103-92 nonconference victory on New Year's Eve in Hollinger Fieldhouse.
The overtime sessions happened in large part to Tyaire Ponzo-Meek's career afternoon, as he posted 37 points, hitting five three-pointers on the afternoon for the Wildcats (4-9). The biggest three-pointer came with eight seconds left in regulation, tying the game at 80-80 and forcing the extra period. He also hit a buzzer beating three-pointer at the end of the first half.
The storyline of the afternoon was the foul trouble and short bench for the Wildcats however, as the visitors had three players foul out of the game. West Chester (10-1) shot 41 free throws in the game while the Wildcats only got to the line 26 times. The Wildcats also had three players that played 40 or more minutes in the contest including Ponzo-Meek who played all 50 minutes.
The Wildcats were able to carry the momentum of Ponzo-Meek's buzzer beating three-pointer into the second half, extending their 44-40 halftime lead into a lead as large as 10-points with 16:52 left in regulation. Paul Medlin scored seven points during a 9-3 run in the first 3:08 of the second half, giving the Wildcats a 53-43 lead.
Brian Adkins hit one of his three three-pointers in the game with 10:19 left in regulation to give the Wildcats a 62-57 lead, but the Rams continued to battle back and eventually took their first lead, 65-64, with 6:30 to play.
A pair at the line from Omari Dill-Pettiford gave the Wildcats the lead once more, 76-75, with 1:27 left, but the Rams were able to convert an old fashioned three-point play with 32 seconds left to put the home team up, 78-76. Ponzo-Meek made one of two from the foul line before the Rams gained a three-point lead, 80-77, from the charity stripe with 20 seconds left.
Following a timeout, Ponzo-Meek came off a screen and took a long three-pointer form the left wing, rattling it home to tie the game. The Rams were unsuccessful in their game-winning attempt, sending the game to overtime.
Ponzo-Meek hit a three-pointer with 3:14 left in the session to put the Wildcats up 87-84, but the Rams again fought back and eventually tied the game, 89-89, from the foul line. The Rams were once again unable to get the ball to drop at the end of the first overtime session.
West Chester was able to take advantage of the Wildcats' short bench and foul trouble in the second overtime, scoring the first eight points of the second session and never looked back. The Wildcats went cold from the field while the Rams were able to hit their next four free throws, icing the game late.
Adkins added 19 points in 47 minutes for the Wildcats while Medlin scored 12 points and added eight rebounds. Dill-Pettiford came off the bench to score 12 points in 32 minutes. Ponzo-Meek added a double-double with 12 rebounds as well.
Malik Jackson hit six three-pointers and shot 10-20 from the field for 34 points for the Rams, as they also had four players in double figures. Matt Wiseley scored 18 and added a game high 19 rebounds.
The Wildcats will look to start 2016 on the right foot as they host Bloomfield in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference contest on Wednesday, January 6. Wilmington will be looking to snap an eight-game losing streak on Wednesday night starting at 8:00 p.m.