NEWARK, Del. - - The inside presence of Shippensburg helped the team overcome a Wilmington University men's basketball halftime lead, as the Raiders ruined the 2019-20 home opener on Saturday, 77-69, at the WU Athletics Complex.
The Raiders (3-1) controlled the paint with their big men, finishing with 50 points in the paint and had a 19-3 advantage on the offensive glass, resulting in a 22-2 advantage in second chance points. The Wildcats (0-4) made nine three-pointers and shot 46.6 percent from the floor overall, and held 39-35 halftime lead.
The Wildcats got out to a quick start on the visiting Raiders, as Tyler Norwood hit a three-pointer early on to go up 3-0. Back-to-back threes by Danny Walsh and Jermaine Head gave the Wildcats a 13-4 lead and then the Wildcats took their largest lead of the game, 15-4, on two Head free throws with 14:20 left in the half. Another Head three-point put the Wildcats up 18-8, but then the Raiders began to chip away.
The Raiders got to within 22-19 with a jumper with 8:07 to play, but a quick 6-0 spurt kept the Wildcats ahead, 28-19, with 6:34 in the half. The Wildcats were still up by eight points after a three by Danny Walsh with a minute to play, but the Raiders scored the final four points to close the gap and only allow the Wildcats to lead, 39-35, at the half.
Shippensburg scored the first two buckets of the second half to tie the game, but the Wildcats were able to hold onto the slim lead. Tyler Norwood hit a jumper to go back up 48-46, but the Raiders answered and took their first lead of the game, 50-48, with 14:06 to play in regulation.
The teams went on the seesaw for multiple possessions and then the Jermaine Head put the Wildcats in front, 62-60, with a jumper with 8:51 to play. It would be the final lead for the Wildcats, though. The Raiders went on an 8-0 run before Head could answer with a jumper to trail 68-64 with 4:27 to play. Down six, the Wildcats had a few possessions to cut into the lead, but the team couldn't find the bottom of the net heading into a timeout with 1:40 to play.
The Raiders kept the Wildcats in the game by missing late free throws, but the Wildcats couldn't capitalize. The lead stretched out to 11 with 13 seconds left before Tyler Norwood hit a long three to settle the final score, 77-69.
Jermaine Head led the Wildcats with 24 points, as he is now just nine points shy of taking over the third spot in career points in the program's NCAA era. He shot 8-for-15 from the floor while grabbing five rebounds and dishing out three assists.
The Wildcats hit the road for their next three contests, as they head to Buffalo to play Daemen at the KeyBank Center, home of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres. Tickets can be purchased by visting https://www.keybankcenter.com/details/2019-11-23/college-basketball-doubleheader. Tip-off is set for 12:00 p.m.