PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Corye Payton scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half to lead the Wilmington University men's basketball team to a 73-66 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference victory over Holy Family on Saturday afternoon at the Campus Center.
In what seems to have become a habit, the Wildcats (6-9, 2-4 CACC) fell behind early and turned a 10-point halftime deficit into a seven point victory. Holy Family (7-8, 3-4 CACC) had as big as a 14 first half lead but shot just 8-for-25 in the second half while being outscored 43-26.
The Tigers' Khiry Hankins hit a three-pointer to put the home team up 40-26 with 46 seconds remaining in the first half, and after two free-throws and a layup by Payton, Holy Family went into the halftime break with a 40-30 lead.
Still trailing by 10, Payton started the comeback with back-to-back layups to cut the deficit to 42-36 with 17:06 left in regulation. The teams traded baskets over the next three possessions before a James Pee hit consecutive jumpers, the last one from beyond the arc, to make it 45-42 with 14:26 left to play.
The Tigers held onto the lead for the following five minutes despite Wilmington cutting their lead to one on three separate occasions. It wasn't until Payton slammed home a dunk, and completed the three-point play as he was fouled, allowing the Wildcats to take their first lead, 53-51, since the 17:09 mark of the first half. It was a lead the Wildcats wouldn't relinquish.
Rashaun Rasheed's layup with 8:10 left in regulation gave the Wildcats their biggest lead of the game at 59-51, and capped a 10-0 run that seized the momentum in the pivotal CACC matchup.
Wilmington only allowed the Tigers to cut it to a three point lead on two occasions, the last on a Rasheed Sneed jumper with 4:52 to play. Holy Family could only get as close as four points the rest of the way. The 'Cats hit their final three from the charity stripe to ice the contest, stealing one away from the Tigers.
Payton shot 10-for-18 from the field, including 3-for-7 from three and 5-for-7 from the free throw line. James Pee joined Payton in double-digits with 13 points off the bench, shooting 5-for-8 from the field. Pee also finished with a team-high eight rebounds. Jarvis Perry dished out a game-high seven assists and three steals.
Hankins finished with a game-high 27 points, while Rickie Crews added 15 and Alberto Munoz chipped in 12 points to lead the Tigers. Crew added 10 rebounds to complete the double-double.
The Wildcats held the advantage on the glass, collecting 42 boards to Holy Family's 32. The 'Cats shot 56 percent from the floor in the second half but finished only 38.3 percent for the game. The Tigers shot 42.1 percent for the game, but only 32 percent in the final stanza.
Wilmington returns home next week, playing two more pivotal CACC contests at the Pratt Center, with the first contest against the University of the Sciences on Tuesday. The conference doubleheader starts with the women's game at 6 p.m. before the men tip off at 8 p.m.