NEWARK, Del. - - The rebounding margin was too much to overcome for the Wilmington University men's basketball team, as Nyack came to the WU Athletics Complex and left with an 84-79 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference victory on Saturday afternoon.
It took time in each half for the Wildcats (6-7, 3-2 CACC) to find its offensive rhythm, but once they did they were able to play catch up, but ran out of time in the second half. The Warriors (4-9, 3-2 CACC) came out of the halftime break and quickly grabbed the lead and never looked back.
The Warriors out-rebounded the Wildcats, 57-35, for the game, including 17 offensive rebounds leading to 13-second chance points. They also outscored the Wildcats in the paint, 50-30.
The Wildcats were stuck on 13 points for 3:51 of game time and found themselves down 23-13 with 9:23 to play in the half. Still down eight, 27-22, Danny Sullivan sparked a 15-7 run over the final 5:38 of the first half with a three-pointer for the Wildcats. Xavier Alston converted a layup and Ed Henderson hit a three-pointer to get to within 31-30 with 2:21 showing on the clock.
The Henderson three-pointer was coupled with a loose ball foul on the play, sending Jordan Harding to the line, resulting in a five-point Wilmington play and a 32-31 lead. Jermaine Head capped the half with a layup, sending the Wildcats into the locker room with a 37-34 lead.
Still down three, the Warriors scored six straight to take a 42-39 lead and never relinquished the lead. It was an 11-0 run by the Warriors that turned the tide, and gave the visitors their largest lead of the night, 65-49, with 9:36 to play in regulation.
The Wildcats wouldn't lie down however, getting the game to 10-points at 67-57 with 5:41. The Warriors stretched the lead back out to 16 points, 75-59, with 4:06 to play before the Wildcats made one final push. A Jermaine Head old-fashioned three-point play brought the Wildcats to within single digits, 76-68, with 2:17 showing on the clock. A steal and Ed Henderson layup on the ensuing in bounds had the Wildcats to within six points with just over two minutes to play.
Jordan Harding laid one home to bring the Wildcats all the way back to within 78-74, but the Warriors broke the press and had an easy layup at the other end, 80-74, with only 36 seconds to play. Jermaine Head hit a pair of free throws to again get within four, but the Warriors again broke the full court press easily for a layup at the other end, 82-76, with 26 seconds left.
The Warriors were trapped and called a timeout, which they didn't have, resulting in a technical foul shot for the Wildcats. Jermaine Head hit the second, cutting it to 82-79 with 14 seconds remaining. But the Warriors hit two more free throws and the Wildcats couldn't convert any more buckets at the other end.
Jermaine Head led the Wildcats with 29 points and 10 rebounds for the double-double, adding four assists and three steals. Thomas Farrior scored 14 points while Henderson finished with 12 points off the bench. Xavier Alston added 11 points and six rebounds in the start for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats head outside of CACC play for the final time with their next contest, as they head to Bloomsburg on Wednesday during their conference bye week. The Wildcats and Huskies tip-off at 7:00 p.m.