SPARKILL, N.Y. - - Trailing by 14 points with nine minutes to play in the second half, the Wilmington University men's basketball team picked up its first win of the 2018-19, fighting back to defeat the District of Columbia, 86-82, on Sunday on the campus of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Firebirds (0-2) hit a jumper to go up 56-42 with 13:49 left in regulation and matched their largest lead of the game, 68-54, with 9:07 to play. But that is when the Wildcats started to put it together.
Dawson Grinnage started what would be a game deciding 19-0 run over a span of 6:39 in game-time. Danny Walsh finished off a steal and fast break before Denzil Haynes converted an old-fashioned three-point play to bring the Wildcats to within 68-60 with 6:54 to play.
Jermaine Head brought the Wildcats to within a pair with two free throws before Haynes gave the Wildcats the lead with layup underneath the basket, 69-68, with 4:00 showing on the clock. Jermaine Head followed with a steal and fastbreak layup for the 71-68 advantage and finished off the 19-0 run with two free throws for the 73-68 lead with 2:30 to play.
The Firebirds finally ended the drought with a jumper with 2:16 to play, but Jordan Harding answered with a three-pointer for the Wildcats, widening the lead out to 76-70.
The Firebirds closed to within 78-75 but Danny Walsh finished off a fastbreak layup while being fouled, beating the full court press and putting the game out of reach.
The Firebirds took their first double-digit lead halfway through the first half, 24-14, and had as large as 13 points as late as 1:52 to play, 42-29. That would be the score at the half as well, as neither team found the bottom of the net in the final two minutes.
All five starters finished in double digits for the Wildcats, lead by Jermaine Head's 22 points. Twelve of his 22 points came from the foul line, shooting 12-for-18 from the stripe. Dawson Grinnage nearly collected a double-double with 15 points and a team high nine rebounds, as did Denzil Haynes with 12 points and nine rebounds. Tyler Norwood and Danny Walsh finished with 13 points each while Tyler Norwood led the way with four steals.
The defense forced 23 turnovers and collected 12 steals, leading to 25 points at the other end of the floor. The Wildcats went 30-for-45 from the foul line as well.