Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
NEWARK, Del. - - The Wilmington University men's basketball team went blow for flow against Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference South Division leading Holy Family, but the Tigers pulled away in the second half to claim a 96-89 victory in the Wildcats' season finale at the WU Athletics Complex on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats finished the season 9-19 overall, going 4-15 in the CACC after key injuries plagued the Wildcats before they could even get their feet under them in the early in the season. Holy Family (23-5, 17-2 CACC) heads into the CACC Tournament as the South Division's number one seed.
The first half turned into a three-point shooting contest, as the teams combined to shoot 44 shots from beyond the three-point arc. The Wildcats finished 6-for-17 while the Tigers went 9-for-27 from deep in the first 20 minutes. The Wildcats grabbed 24 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass, and shot 40 percent from the floor in the first half to grab a 40-39 lead heading into the break.
The teams went back and forth through the beginning of the second half, as Brian Adkins flushed one home to regain a 44-42 lead for the Wildcats. Moments later, Sam Sanders hit one of his four three-pointers on the night to tie the game at 49. Drew Johnson II followed Sanders with another three-pointer, putting the home team back on top, 52-49, with 17:18 left in regulation.
The turning point was a 9-0 for the Tigers over the next two minutes, putting the visitors ahead, 58-52. After Tyaire Ponzo-Meek ended the streak with a layup, the Tigers converted an old fashioned three-point play to regain momentum once more, and take a 61-54 lead with 14:22 to play. The Wildcats wouldn't be able to get any closer than five points the rest of the game.
Another 12-3 run for the Tigers extended the lead out to 76-62 before the visitors held their largest lead of the game, 84-67 with 5:02 to play in the game.
Senior Sam Sanders enjoyed a career night; as he scored a career best 27 points while hitting four three-pointers. He also grabbed seven rebounds and added a steal. Classmate Ryan LeBoon secured seven rebounds, three of which came on the offensive glass, while also adding two assists and a steal.
Ponzo-Meek scored a game-high 28 points, going 10-of-22 from the floor including 2-of-4 from deep. The junior added seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals in the loss. Johnson added 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, hitting 4-of-9 from three-point territory. Johnson also added seven rebounds and three assists.