Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of David Hartman by Frank Stallworth.
NEWARK, Del. - - The hot shooting went into the halftime break with the Wilmington University men's basketball team and never resurfaced as USciences came back in the second half for an 83-67 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference victory on Wednesday night at the WU Athletics Complex.
It was hard for the Wildcats (7-16, 2-12 CACC) to miss in the first half, as they hit nine three-pointers and shot 56.3 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
Although the Devils (12-9, 9-5 CACC) also shot 53.6 percent from the floor in the first half, the Wildcats were able to out-rebound the Devils, 16-14, and only allow one offensive rebound to take a 45-38 lead into the break.
It was a tail of two halves for the Wildcats, however, as the bottom of the bucket was hard to find. The team shot 9-for-30 (30 percent) from the field in the second half, including 0-for-11 from beyond the three-point arc.
Being able to keep the Devils to only one opportunity per possession allowed the Wildcats to carry the seven-point lead in the first half, but the Devils crashed the boards hard in the second half. The Devils were able to gather nine offensive rebounds in the second half while also continuing to shoot 48 percent from the floor. USciences also kept the Wildcats off the offensive glass in the second half, out-rebounding the home team, 30-14, in the final 20 minutes.
The Devils hit their only three of the game with 11:13 left in the first half, putting the visitors up, 24-22. Sam Sanders then started an 11-0 run, highlighted by a three-pointer by Brian Adkins and then a steal and fastbreak dunk by the junior to give the Wildcats a 29-24 lead.
Tyaire Ponzo-Meek hit a jumper for the 33-24 lead and after the Devils hit a pair from the foul line, Sanders hit another three-pointer to give the Wildcats their largest lead of the night, 36-26, with 6:19 left in the first half.
Ponzo-Meek converted an old-fashioned three-point play to begin the second half, giving the Wildcats their 10-pointl lead once more, 48-38.
An 8-0 run started the demise of the Wildcats, as the Devils cut into the deficit, 50-48, with 13:21 left. Following one of two at the foul line from Ponzo-Meek, the Devils went on another 9-0 run, capped by a Will Gregorits steal and fastbreak duck to give the visitors the 57-51 lead. The Wildcats couldn't get to within fewer than four points the rest of the way.
Ponzo-Meek led the Wildcats with 23 points while David Hartman hit four first half three-pointer to finish with 12 points. Adkins chipped in with 10 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
The Wildcats shot 43.5 percent from the floor for the game while going 9-for-26 from three-point territory. The Devils finished shooting 50.9 percent from the floor, and got to the free throw line 36 times, as opposed to the Wildcats' eight times.
Wilmington takes to the road for their next two contests, as they head to Nyack for a CACC cross-divisional contest on Saturday afternoon. The men are the nightcap in the CACC doubleheader, with the tip occurring at approximately 3 p.m.