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Second Half Drought Haunts Men’s Basketball, 71-63, in 2018-19 Season Opener at St. Thomas Aquinas

Copyright 2018; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Jermaine Head, taken by Frank Stallworth.
Copyright 2018; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Jermaine Head, taken by Frank Stallworth.

SPARKILL, N.Y. - - A late game drought saw the Wilmington University men's basketball team slip at St. Thomas Aquinas, 71-63, in the 2018-19 season opener on Saturday afternoon at the Aquinas Hall Gymnasium.

Freshman Tyler Norwood hit a jumper to put the Wildcats (0-1) ahead, 56-52, with 9:37 left in regulation. The Wildcats wouldn't score another point for 6:12 of game time.

The Spartans (1-0) rallied to score 12 straight to take a 64-56 lead with 3:25 left in the game before Jermaine Head would sink two free throws to break the draught. Denzil Haynes made two free throws to cut the deficit to six-points, 66-60, 1:19 to play but they couldn't get any closer.

Xavier Alston came up with steal with under a minute to play, but Zahir Robinson's three-pointer came up short off the front rim and the Wildcats' chances disappeared.

St. Thomas Aquinas jumped out to a 15-5 lead in the opening 5:23 before the Wildcats settled in and started playing. Jermaine Head converted a three-point play before Norwood hit back-to-back jumpers to cut the deficit to 15-12. Robinson hit another jumper and Jordan Harding sank a three-pointer to take a 17-15 lead before Head ended the 14-0 run with another jumper, 19-15, with 8:44 left in the first half.

The rest of the half was back-and-forth between the two teams and Denzil Haynes hit the final jumper with 50 seconds left to give the Wildcats a 33-32 lead at the break.

After a slow start to the second half, Jermaine hit a three-pointer and came up with a steal and layup to put the Wildcats up, 40-35, with 15:29 left in regulation. Tyler Norwood hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the visitors a 46-38 lead with 14:35 showing on the clock, their largest lead of the game.

The Spartans answered with eight straight of their own to tie the game but the Wildcats regained a 56-52 lead on Norwood's jumper before the draught set in.

Jermaine Head led the Wildcats with 23 points, shooting 7-for-20 from the field with 7-for-8 from the foul line, to go with seven rebounds and three assists. Denzil Haynes finished with a double-double in his first game as a Wildcats with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Tyler Norwood added 12 points and four rebounds in his collegiate debut.

The Wildcats close out the opening weekend tournament hosted by St. Thomas Aquinas tomorrow afternoon against the University of District of Columbia. The opening tip in Aquinas Hall Gym is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.