SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - - A running three-pointer at the buzzer stunned the Wilmington University men's basketball team, as Franklin Pierce came back for the 77-76 nonconference victory on Sunday afternoon to wrap up the AIC Holiday Classic.
It was only the third lead changes all afternoon, with the first two coming on the opening possession and the third coming on the final shot of the game. The Wildcats (7-4) held the lead for 36:43 of the contest, but all that mattered was the final second of the game for the Ravens (6-5).
Jermaine Head broke a 74-74 tie for the Wildcats with a jumper from the left elbow with 1:13 left in regulation. The Wildcats were then able to grab a defensive rebound on a Ravens' missed three-pointer. After running the clock down, Paul Medlin had a good look on the low block, but his layup circled out, providing the Ravens with 4.3 seconds left.
The Ravens got the ball into Doyin Fadojutimi's hands and he raced up the floor to the top of the key. His running three-pointer from straight on hit nothing but net as the buzzer sounded, causing a mobbing on the floor as the Wildcats walked off in defeat.
The Wildcats led by as many as 14 points in the first half, as Head hit a jumper to put Wilmington ahead, 26-12, with 8:49 before the break. The Ravens fought back but it was a Head three-pointer that sent the Wildcats into the break leading, 37-32.
A 7-0 run put the Wildcats ahead 56-47 with 11:56 showing on the clock before the Ravens rattled off six straight of their own to get to within a single point, 56-55. Tha Ravens eventually tied the game, 63-63, with 6:22 left before a Wilmington 5-0 spurt, including a Dawson Grinnage three-pointer, put the Wildcats ahead, 70-63, with 3:55 to play.
The Wildcats still led 74-70 with 2:47 left before back-to-back layups for the Ravens tied the game. Head then came down and hit the go-ahead jumper with 1:13 showing on the clock, setting up the end of the game.
Head led the Wildcats with 28 points, 17 of which came in the first half alone. He shot 10-of-19 from the floor while also hitting four three-pointers and going a perfect 4-of-4 from the foul line. He also dished out a team high five assists. Richards added 26 points on 11-of-22 shooting, adding four assists and four steals as well. Miles Gillette was the final Wildcat in double figures with 10 points and five rebounds.
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Wildcats, but they will look to start another streak as they head to Jefferson for a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference South Division showdown on Tuesday afternoon. The men tip off at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Gallagher Center.