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Nick Richards Goes for 33 Points in 91-78 Loss to West Chester; Tyaire Ponzo-Meek Sets Scoring Mark

Nick Richards Goes for 33 Points in 91-78 Loss to West Chester; Tyaire Ponzo-Meek Sets Scoring Mark

Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All right reserved. Photo of Nick Richards against West Chester, taken by Frank Stallworth.

NEWARK, Del. - - The hot shooting West Chester Golden Rams sprinted out to a fast lead in taking down the Wilmington University men's basketball team, 91-78, in nonconference action on Monday night at the WU Athletics Complex.

Despite the loss, the Wildcats' (6-5) Tyaire Ponzo-Meek became the program's all-time leading scorer during its NCAA era, scoring 11 points to surpass Taurean Temple's mark of 1,423 career points set in his final game in 2008. Ponzo-Meek now has 1,424 career points with the rest of the season to play.

The Golden Rams (5-5) came out of the gates on fire, shooting 18-of-29 from the floor including 9-of-16 from beyond the three-point arc in the first half, opening as large as a 21-point lead before the halftime break. The Wildcats went for 38.7 percent from the floor and 4-of-11 from deep in the first half.

Before they knew what hit them, the Wildcats found themselves down 12-2 just 2:44 into the contest. The deficit continued to grow for the Wildcats as the Golden Rams' third three-pointer put the visitors ahead, 19-2, just 4:06 into the game.

The ball started to fall for the Wildcats towards the end of the first half, as a Brian Adkins three-pointer brought the Wildcats to within 11 at 36-25 to 5:23 to play. But the Golden Rams' Malik Jackson had an answer for every Wildcats' punch in the first half, finishing the half with 27 points on 9-of-10 shooting, including 7-of-8 from three-point territory. The Wildcats trailed 54-35 at the break.

Nick Richards took over the offensive load for the Wildcats in the second half, scoring 12 straight points for the Wildcats, cutting the deficit to 62-49 with 13:15 to play in regulation. A three-pointer by the junior transfer brought the Wildcats to within 12 before another layup had the Wildcats within 12 points, 70-58, with 10:26 showing on the clock.

But the Wildcats couldn't get it any closer than 11 points the rest of the way, as Ponzo-Meek hit a three-pointer and set the program's NCAA era all-time scoring record with a pair of free throws, 84-73, with 3:26 left. The Golden Rams scored put the game away with a putback off a missed free throw and a dunk on with under a minute to play.

Richards shot 7-of-11 from the floor in the second half, scoring 19 points to finish with a team high 33 points for the game. He added a team high seven rebounds as well, dishing out three assists while adding three steals. Ponzo-Meek scored his 11 points while dishing out seven assists and adding six rebounds and three steals as well. Omari Dill-Pettiford finished with 12 points while Drew Johnson II hit three three-pointers for 11 points as well.

Jackson led all scorers with 36 points for the Golden Rams, shooting 11-of-15 from the field, including 7-of-10 from three-point range. He also added 7-of-8 from the foul line, six assists, and three steals in the win.

The Wildcats return to Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference action for their next contest when they head to Chestnut Hill on Thursday night. The Wildcats and Griffins will battle starting at 8:00 p.m.