NEW CASTLE, Del. - - The Wilmington University men's basketball team outscored Felician by 11 points in the second half, turning a tied ballgame at the half into a much needed Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference victory, 67-56, on Saturday afternoon at the Pratt Center.
With the win, Wilmington (8-12, 4-7 CACC) ended a three-game skid and kept its head above water in the CACC playoff scenario with six conference games remaining. Felician (6-14, 3-9 CACC) went cold in the second half, shooting 9-for-26 in the second stanza for its fifth straight loss.
The Wildcats used a 12-1 run to open the second half to take control of the tied ballgame. The teams struggled from the floor in the first five minutes of the second half, as only a combined five points were scored. Ed Freeman hit a jumper with 14:30 left in regulation to make it 41-36. Corye Payton then scored back-to-back layups, the second on a steal and a solo coast to coast to make it 45-36 with 13:33 remaining.
Felician wouldn't roll over so easy however, as they used a run of its own to make it a four-point game with 10:39 on the clock. John Tello hit three shots in a row for the Golden Falcons to cut the lead to five before Tajric Boggs hit one of two from the foul line to make it 47-43. Anthony D. Green made it a four point deficit again with a layup, 49-45, with 9:53 to play, but that would be as close as the Falcons would make it the rest of the contest.
Senior Matt King sank the Golden Falcons with his lone three of the game, putting an end to any thoughts of a comeback at the 8:31 mark of the second half. With it only being a four-point game, King found his spot in the corner in front of his own bench and nailed his only three of the game to make it 52-45, deflating the visitors. The lead ballooned to as many as 11 in the final four minutes as Payton again laid one in for a 63-52 margin with 3:34 showing on the clock.
Payton scored a season's high 30 points in the win, shooting 11-for-19 and 4-for-7 from the foul line. He hit 4-for-10 from beyond the three-point arc, and added six rebounds on the day. King finished with his first double-double of the season, pouring in 13 points while grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds. The Wildcats shot 26-for-66 from the floor but 14-for-34 (41.2%) in the second half.
Tello finished with a team-high 18 points off the bench for Felician as Anthony D. Green added 16 off the bench. Tello also grabbed a team-high nine rebound on the afternoon, as Antoine Obery and Will Thompson picked up seven boards a piece. The Falcons shot 24-for-58 (41.4%) from the floor but committed 20 turnovers.
The Wildcats remain in the comfort of the Pratt Center for one more game this week, as they will make up the postponed game from January 21 against Concordia on Monday, February 6. The game has been moved up an hour and is expected to start at 7 p.m.