NEW CASTLE, Del. - - In what was a tightly contested matchup for the first three quarters, the Wilmington University men's basketball team ran away from the University of the Science late in a key Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference contest, 83-65, on Tuesday night at the Pratt center.
Trailing by one, 56-55, with 9:55 remaining in the game, Wilmington (7-9, 3-4 CACC) used an 11-0 lead to take the lead for good, keeping them in arms reach in the conference standings. The Devils (1-12, 0-7 CACC) played better than their record indicating, but was not deep enough off the bench to continue to run with the Wildcats.
Wilmington Junior James Pee came off the bench and sparked the rally in the second half, leading to a remarkable 45-4 bench point advantage for the contest. Pee shot 5-for-7 from the floor in the second half, including 4-for-6 from beyond the three-point line and 2-for-2 from the charity stripe, scoring all 16 of his points in the final stanza. The Wildcats used 30 points off the bench in the second half, in comparison to USP's one point from its reserves.
Leading by three with 7:15 left to play in regulation, Pee knocked down a three to extend the lead to six, and then got an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and put home the quick jumper to make a 10 points lead. On the next trip down the floor, Pee nailed another three-pointer to move the margin to 11, scoring eight of the team's last 10 points.
The late lead continued to balloon for the Wildcats, as Herbert Dennis hit eight consecutive free-throws, helping the team to an 81-65 advantage with 1:59 on the clock. Pee iced the Devils, sinking the final two foul shots for the game, completing the 83-65 victory.
Herbert led the Wildcats with 21 points, shooting 5-of-9 from the floor but more importantly 10-for-11 from the foul line. Pee finished with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists while Corye Payton added 14 points and seven rebounds. Payton helped sway the momentum early in the second half with a pair of acrobatic dunks from the baseline. Brandon Fox contributed 10 points while Jarvis Perry added a game-high nine assists. Matt King returned to the lineup after missing time with an injury and tallied eight points.
Reigning CACC Player of the Week Garret Kerr led the Devils by picking up another double-double, this time going for 16 points and 14 rebounds. Tyrone Mann-Barnes paced UDP with 19 points while Henry Messinger added 11 for the visitors.
Wilmington shot 51.7 percent from the floor for the game, and 64 percent in the second half. The Wildcats help USP to 44.4 percent shooting in the second half, and 48.1 percent for the game. The Devils outrebounded the 'Cats, 37-30, but the home team got to the line two more times and sank five more free-throws.
The Wildcats remain home this week, as they welcome Concordia to the Pratt Center on Saturday, January 21 for another key CACC matchup. The game is slated for a 3 p.m. tip.