The Wilmington University men's basketball team hit six three-pointers in the first half and held a 15-point halftime lead before holding on late against Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference foe Nyack, 78-72, on Sunday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
The win, coupled with a Goldey-Beacom loss today, moves the Wildcats (5-15, 4-7 CACC) a half-game ahead of the Lightning and Chestnut Hill and into fourth place in the CACC South Division standings. The CACC takes the top four teams from each division to the CACC Tournament at the end of the season. The Wildcats square off against both the Lightning and Griffins one more time this season.
Six three-pointers gave the Wildcats a large first half lead as the home team shot 58.1 percent from the field (18-of-31) including 6-of-10 from beyond the three-point arc. Kevin Ohen went a perfect 4-of-4 from deep while Valentino Thompson shot 2-of-4 from long range in the first half.
The Warriors (5-13, 4-7 CACC) cut the deficit to 10 points early in the second half before the Wildcats gained the momentum. Over a stretch of 9:54 of game play, the Wildcats outscored the Warriors 21-8 to take a commanding 63-40 lead with 10:16 to play in regulation. The 23-point margin was the largest of the game for the Wildcats.
But that is when the Warriors started to chip away at the large lead, cutting the deficit to 13 with 4:46 showing on the scoreboard. The Wildcats were able to keep the Warriors at bay for the most part, but a Ezra Gaines dunk with 1:47 to play, and an ensuing steal on the in-bounds pass by Yahmir Greenlee brought the Warriors to within single digits at 71-63 with 1:42 to play.
Missed free throws by the Wildcats allowed the Warriors to stick around and the visitors closed the gap to five following a dunk by Nick Moore with 42 seconds to play. Will Robinson brought Nyack to within three at 75-72 after a pair of free throws but Sam Sanders followed up a missed fastbreak layup by Thompson with a tip-in to thwart the comeback with 19 seconds to play.
The Wildcats shot 53.8 percent from the floor for the game, adding 8-of-15 from three-point territory. The Warriors went 25-of-62 from the floor, but only went 2-of-12 from deep for the contest.
Thompson led the Wildcats with 19 points and eight assists, shooing 7-of-14 from the floor while hitting 3-of-6 from deep. Ohen finished with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting while Tyaire Ponzo-Meek added 13 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Shai Henry came off the bench to score 12 points and grab five rebounds, shooting 5-of-7 from the floor.
The Wildcats take to the road for their next three contests as they head to Chestnut Hill in an important CACC South Division matchup on Tuesday. The Griffins took the season's first meeting, 85-73, on December 3 at the WU Athletics Complex. The men are the nightcap of the CACC doubleheader on Tuesday, tipping off at 8 p.m. in Philadelphia.