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Men’s Basketball Loses Late Lead on the Road as Concordia Steals 80-78 CACC Contest

Copyright 2017; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Tyaire Ponzo-Meek, taken by Frank Stallworth.
Copyright 2017; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Tyaire Ponzo-Meek, taken by Frank Stallworth.

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. - - Concordia made a late game comeback to steal a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference cross divisional contest over the Wilmington University men's basketball team, 80-78, on Saturday at the Meyer Athletic Center.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Wildcats (14-7, 9-3 CACC) while the Clippers (5-16, 4-8 CACC) broke a three-game losing streak of their own with the win.

The Wildcats battled back from a 44-39 halftime deficit to take the lead, 61-59, on a Tyaire Ponzo-Meek jumper with 9:20 left in regulation. The jumper was in the middle of a 10-0 run by the Wildcats with Ponzo-Meek scoring eight of the 10 Wildcat points. Ponzo-Meek's free throw put the visitors ahead, 67-59, with 7:41 to play, the Wildcats' largest lead of the game.

Omari Dill-Pettiford kept the Wildcats ahead with a jumper, 72-66, with 4:23 to play, but the Clippers had an answer. The home team responded with a three-pointer to kick-start an 11-0 run to take a 77-72 lead with less than a minute to play.

A Jalen Heath three-pointer put the Clippers ahead, 73-72 with 2:15 left, but the Wildcats went cold from the field, not scoring again until Nick Richards hit a three-pointer with 52 seconds left, drawing the Wildcats to within 77-75.

The Wildcats got what they wanted with Cedrick McFadden only going 1-of-2 from the foul line, but they couldn't even get a shot off on the ensuing possession with a chance to tie the game. The Clippers then made both of their free throws to extend the lead out to 80-75 with only five seconds to play.

Ponzo-Meek scored 16 of his team-high 24 in the second half to give the Wildcats a chance to win. He hit five three-pointers in the game, finishing 5-of-9 from deep to go along with three rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Dill-Pettiford scored 19 points while grabbing six rebounds and adding two assists. Richards finished with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, adding four rebounds and three assists as well. Tajee Almon also tied for the team lead with six rebounds on Saturday.

Although the Wildcats outshot the Clippers, 46.9 percent to 44.8 percent, the Clippers grabbed more rebounds, 44-31, than the Wildcats. The Clippers scored 16 second chance points on 12 offensive rebounds.

The Wildcats will try to start another win streak with their next three games at home, starting with a CACC South Division matchup against Georgian Court on Wednesday night. The men will cap the doubleheader with a tip-off at 8:00 p.m. at the WU Athletics Complex.