NEWARK, Del. - - An early second half surge allowed the Wilmington University men's basketball team to snap a three-game losing streak and take a 72-66 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference cross-divisional contest from Post on Saturday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
The shots weren't falling in the first half for the Wildcats (15-11, 10-7 CACC) as they only shot 34.4 percent from the field while Post (7-19, 6-11 CACC) out-shot (40.6 percent) and out-rebounded (27-12) the Wildcats.
The Eagles jumped out early on the Wildcats, as they took a 10-3 lead past five minutes into the contest. The Wildcats had trouble finding the bottom of the net early, but closed the gap to a single point, 15-14, at the halfway point of the first half. Tied at 25-25, the Eagles scored five straight en route to a 32-27 lead late in the half. Jermaine Head laid one in to put the Wildcats down by only 32-29 at the break.
The Wildcats were a different team out of the break, as Shawn Church hit back-to-back jumpers and they never looked back. Miles Gillette turned a steal into an easy bucket and Nick Richards knocked down a three-pointer and the Wildcats had a 42-32 lead with 16:13 left in regulation. In all, it was a 15-0 run by the Wildcats spanning both halves.
Head gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the game, 46-34, with 15:14 left on the clock, but the Eagles didn't go away easily. The visitors retaliated with a 9-0 run of their own to get back to within 46-43 with 9:49 to play.
Richards found himself ahead of the field after a Danny Walsh defensive rebound, dunking one home to regain a 54-45 lead for the Wildcats with 7:24 to play. The Wildcats took a double-digit lead once against, 58-48, with 5:53 left, but the Eagles continued to battle back.
Post's Tyler Destosiers took it upon himself on the comeback, hitting a couple of off balanced three-pointers and a few free throws to carry the Eagles late. His three-pointer with 37 seconds on the clock brought the visitors to within 68-63, before an old fashioned three-point play by Daniel Cabassa brought the Eagles to within 68-66 with 22 seconds left.
But Walsh stepped up and hit two free throws for the Wildcats, as the Eagles missed both their three-pointers at the end of the game.
CACC leading scorer Nick Richards did it again, scoring 31 points on 9-of-17 shooting, also going 12-of-15 from the foul line. He added five rebounds, two steals, and an assist in the win. Head counterbalanced Richards with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting, hitting three three-pointers to go with six rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Vincent Kent collected six rebounds to go with three blocked shots.
The Wildcats received some help in the CACC standings as Caldwell defeated Jefferson, 73-63, on Watch ESPN, keeping their slim hopes for second place in the South Division alive. The Wildcats are a game ahead of USciences in the loss column for third place in the South Division with two games to play in the regular season.
Wilmington takes to the road for the final time in the regular season with their next contest, as they head to Georgian Court on Wednesday night. They will follow the women with an approximate start time of 8:00 p.m. in Lakewood, New Jersey.