NYACK, N.Y. - - Herbert Dennis scored 25 points and the Wilmington University men's basketball team led for most of the second half as the Wildcats came away with an 88-80 victory over Nyack in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference cross-division matchup at the Bowman Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats (10-13, 6-8 CACC) responded Saturday after letting a double-digit lead slip away on Thursday to remain a game behind Holy Family in the CACC South Division standings for the fourth and final playoff spot. Nyack (0-24, 0-14 CACC) remained winless on the season and saw its losing streak run to 40 consecutive games dating back to last season.
Wilmington took its first lead with 4:27 to play in the first half and held a 45-42 lead at the break, but it wasn't until the 15:08 mark of the second half when the Wildcats took the lead for good.
Ed Freeman hit a jumper in the paint to break the seventh and final tie of the game, giving the visitors a 52-50 lead in the second half. From the tie game, the 'Cats used a 12-0 run to jump out to a 62-50 advantage with 10:49 remaining on the clock. Herbert scored two baskets during the run while Isiah Mason, Jarvis Perry and Brett Foskey also contributed.
The lead grew to as large at 14 as Corye Payton hit his own jumper in the lane, opening the game up to a 75-61 margin. The lead remained in double-digits for most of the remainder of the afternoon, as Dennis kept the Warriors at bay with a leaner in the paint to make it 83-69 with 2:08 on the clock. Payton kept it at 14 again as he hit a jumper on the break with 1:10 remaining, putting the game away for good.
Dennis shot 10-for-16 on the afternoon, including 2-for-4 from beyond the arc and 3-for-5 from the foul line to collect his largest point total of the season. Payton shot 8-for-13 on the afternoon, picking up 18 points while also adding five rebounds. Mason chipped in with 12 points while James Pee added 10 off the bench for the Wildcats. Foskey grabbed a game-high eight boards off the bench. The team shot 33-for-62 (53.2 percent) for the game, but only 6-for-18 from downtown and 16-for-30 from the foul line.
Lafayette Curtis paced the Warriors with 24 points on 9-for-13 shooting. Chris Hampton also contributed 20 points, hitting 3-for-8 from three-point territory. Jose Pena-Benjamin was the final Warriors in double digits with 16 on 5-for 10 shooting. Curtis and Hampton each had a team-high seven rebounds.
Wilmington will have a chance to move into playoff contention on Tuesday, as they host Holy Family for a pivotal CACC matchup. The Wildcats took the first game of the season series, a 73-66 victory in Philadelphia on January 14. The game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. tip. S