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Wilmington Men’s Basketball Unable to Hold onto Second Half Lead as Georgian Court Wins, 81-75, in CACC Battle

Wilmington Men’s Basketball Unable to Hold onto Second Half Lead as Georgian Court Wins, 81-75, in CACC Battle

Copyright 2015; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Ta'Vaune Griffin against Shippensburg who recorded four blocked shots today. Photo by Frank Stallworth. 

LAKEWOOD, N.J. - - The Wilmington University men's basketball team led by as many as six points in the second half but Georgian Court came back to earn the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference victory, 81-75, on Saturday afternoon at the Wellness Center.

The game featured eight ties and eight lead changes, with the first half going back and forth between the two squads. The Lions (2-5, 1-3 CACC) grabbed the early lead, 9-4, before the Wildcats (4-5, 0-2 CACC) were able to take their first lead of the match, 12-11. Neither team was able to gain more than a five-point advantage throughout the first half, as the Wildcats' largest lead of the half came at 21-18 on a Jonathan Hartman three-pointer.

Tyaire Ponzo-Meek hit a three-pointer to close the Wildcats' deficit to 31-30 with 2:23 to play, but the Lions grabbed a 36-32 lead on a three-pointer with 36 seconds showing on the clock. Ta'Vaune Griffin hit the first of two from the foul line, closing out the first half with the Lions ahead, 36-33.

The Wildcats converted on their first two possessions of the second half to take a 37-36 lead, before another Griffin jumper regain the lead for the Wildcats once again at 43-41. Two free throws by Drew Johnson II opened the lead to 45-41 before a brief 5-0 spurt carried the Wildcats to their largest lead of the night.

A three-pointer by the Lions cut the deficit to 45-44 before Ponzo-Meek started the 5-0 run with a free throw. A Lions' turnover led to a Ponzo-Meek three-pointer before Johnson II hit the second of his two from the charity stripe to give the visitors a 50-44 lead with 12:51 left in regulation.

But an offensive rebound and a 5-0 run by the Lions' Nikola Vijovic brought the home team back into contention, 50-49, before another Vujovic jumper gave the Lions the lead for good, 55-53, with 9:19 to play.

Omari Dill-Pettiford sank a three-pointer with 8:16 left to bring the Wildcats to within 57-56, but the home team used a 9-1 run over the next five minutes to take control of the game and the clock. A pair from the free throw line by the Lions' Vujovic gave the Lions a 65-57 lead with 3:43 showing on the clock.

Griffin put in a layup to bring the Wildcats as close as 75-68 with 52 seconds to play, but the Wildcats couldn't get any closer before a three-pointer by Brian Adkins with five seconds left settled the final score.

Ponzo-Meek led the Wildcats with 24 points while shooting 8-of-14 from the floor, including 2-of-4 from beyond the three-point arc. Adkins added 14 points in the game while Johnson chipped in with 11 points. Griffin shot 4-for-4 from the floor and 1-of-2 from the foul line to finish with nine points, but also grabbed a team high 13 rebounds while adding four blocked shots.

The Wildcats shot 44.8 percent from the floor but only hit 5-of-20 from beyond the three-point arc. The Lions only shot 39.1 percent from the floor while only hitting 5-of-26 from deep, but grabbed 12 offensive rebounds.

After opening the CACC schedule on the road for their first two games, the Wildcats return to the WU Athletics Complex for their next contest on Tuesday. They will face Philadelphia in the nightcap of the CACC basketball doubleheader starting at 8 p.m. The Rams defeated the Wildcats in the CACC Tournament Championship game a season ago.