Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Tyaire Ponzo-Meek by Frank Stallworth.
LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, Pa. - - Junior guard Tyaire Ponzo-Meek capped a second half comeback with a three-pointer at the buzzer, downing Lincoln, 73-70, in the Wilmington University men's basketball team's final nonconference game of the year on Monday night in Manual Rivero Hall.
The night was highlighted by Ponzo-Meek's three-pointer at the buzzer, but the Wildcats (6-12) needed to make a second half comeback to even be in the situation at the end. Lincoln (6-12) went into the halftime break leading 40-36, and led by as many as nine points in the first half.
The second half started with a Drew Johnson II three-pointer, and the Wildcats were able to find their rhythm from deep, hitting seven of their 10 triples in the second half. Ponzo-Meek gave the visitors their first lead of the second half with a three of his own with 16:42 left, 44-43.
Ponzo-Meek hit another three-pointer on their next offensive possession before Brian Adkins added to the shooting party with a three of his own, putting the Wildcats ahead 50-47 with 15:26 to play.
The Lions were able to come back and tie the game, 50-50, at the 15-minute mark, but the Wildcats answered with a 9-0 run. Omari Dill-Pettiford started the run with a offensive rebound and put back before Ponzo-Meek rattled off seven straight points, including another three-pointer.
Lincoln was able to cut the deficit in half, 59-54, but a layup form Ponzo-Meek and a pair of free throws from Sam Sanders gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the game, 65-55, with 7:55 showing on the scoreboard.
The 10-point lead wasn't enough for the Wildcats, however, as the Lions used a 10-0 run of their own to tie the game once more, 65-65, with 4:37 left. Tied again at 67-67, the Lions were fouled with 1:30 to play, but Malachi Seney missed the front end of a pair before giving the Lions the lead with his second free throw.
Dill-Pettiford erased the one-point deficit with a three-point from the left wing in the Wildcats ensuing possession, giving the visitors the lead, 70-68, with 1:08 to play.
Johnson came up with a steal on the defensive end, but missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving the Lions another chance. Quaman Burton took advantage and tied the game with a layup for the Lions with 30 seconds left.
Out of a timeout, Ponzo-Meek used a high screen from Johnson and rose above the on-coming double team, hitting the game-winning three-pointer from the right wing as the buzzer sounded.
Ponzo-Meek led the Wildcats with a game high 27 points, hitting five three-pointers on the night. Dill-Pettiford came off the bench to pour in 21 points, adding a game high nine rebounds. Sam Sanders also came off the bench to score 15 points, shooting 6-of-9 from the floor. Johnson dished out a game high six assists while Adkins added five assists as well.
The Wildcats return home for two more games this week, first on Wednesday against Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference South Division foe Georgian Court. The Lions defeated the Wildcats, 81-75, in their first meeting and the Wildcats will look to even the season series starting at 8:00 p.m.