MILLERSVILLE, Pa. - - Down 17 points with 8:55 remaining in regulation, the Wilmington University men's basketball team made a comeback for the ages as Shawn Church hit a three-pointer with four seconds left to stun Millersville, 76-75, on the road at Pucillo Gymnasium on Wednesday night.
Wildcats' (2-1) redshirt sophomore Jermaine Head finished with 32 points, 21 of which came in the second half, to lead the furious comeback, adding nine rebounds and the assist to Church on the game-winner. Nick Richards poured in 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting while Church finished with 16 points, hitting 2-of-6 from downtown.
Although the comeback was the highlight, the Wildcats weren't trailing the Marauders (1-2) the entire game. Leading 23-22 in the first half, the Wildcats received three-pointer from Church and Head to give the visitors their largest lead of the game, 29-22, with 6:05 left in the half. The Wildcats would be stuck on 29 for the next 3:39 as the Marauders took a 30-29 lead. Tied at 33, the home team scored the final two buckets of the half to head into the break leading, 37-33.
Millersville continued to lead early in the second half, pushing the lead out to 46-37 with 17:15 showing on the clock, forcing head coach Dan Burke into a 30-second timeout. The first double-digit lead of the game came with 16:01 to play and ballooned to 52-39 on a Marauder three-pointer with 15:18 left.
Head cut the deficit down to single digits, 54-45, with 11:40 to play, but a Maurader 6-0 run pushed the deficit back out to 60-45 for the Wildcats. A layup and two free throws moments later had the home team with their largest lead of the night, 64-47, with 8:55 showing on the clock.
But that is when the Wildcats made their move.
A Church old-fashioned three-point play brought the deficit back to within single digits before a Vincent Kent layup saw the lead shrink to 71-64 with 4:11 left. Richards hit a jumper to cut the deficit to five points before Head hit a three-pointer to bring the score to 74-71 with 2:15 left in regulation.
The Marauders missed their next jumper with 43 seconds left and Head thought he tied the game with a step back three-pointer, but his feet were on the line to only bring the Wildcats within a single point at 74-73 with 16 ticks left.
Out of a timeout, Millersville only hit one of two from the foul line, setting up Church's game-winning three-pointer. Head drove the lane with Church in the corner. The defense collapsed on Head in the paint and he made the right move in kicking it out to Church for a wide-open three-pointer. Church sank the three for the 76-75 lead with four seconds left.
A last ditch three-pointer by Millersville would not fall for the home team.
The Wildcats shot 50-of-36 in the second half, but only 2-of-11 from beyond the arc. They finished the game 31-of-65 from the field (47.7 percent) and 4-of-19 from deep.
The Wildcats remain on the road for one more contest, as they head outside of Buffalo, New York on Saturday for a bout with Daemen College. The opening tip is set for 2:00 p.m.