NEWARK, Del. - - Down by as many as 10 points early in the first half, the Wilmington University men's basketball team stepped up the defense and roared back for a 67-64 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference victory over Bloomfield on Saturday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
The Wildcats (3-9, 1-3 CACC) were down 12-2 with 15:24 to play in the first half, but fought back to eventually tie the game, 15-15, take a three-point lead into the break, and lead for 23:54 of game time for the night. The Wildcats flipped the switch on the Bears (6-8, 2-3 CACC) and led by as many as 11 points midway through the second half.
It was a 9-0 run that brought the Wildcats back to within one, 12-11, with 11:43 left in the half, but the Wildcats couldn't tie the score until a fast break layup from Taalib Holloman, 15-15, with 5:38 showing on the clock. The Bears kept taking the lead back before an old fashioned three-point play by Jermaine Head put the home team in front, 21-20, with 3:54 remaining in the half. Tyler Norwood and Chima Okwu-Lawrence hit shots to put the Wildcats up by as many as five late in the half before the Bears scored the final bucket of the stanza, sending the game into the break with the Wildcats leading 31-28.
Bloomfield was able to cut the deficit to as few as two points with a jumper, 38-36, with 13:30 left in regulation, but then the Wildcats made their move. Jordan Harding started the run with a three-pointer, followed by a Chima Okwu-Lawrence triple, and then a steal and easy lay-in by Tyler Norwood to lead 48-37, their largest of the night, with 10:08 to play.
The Bears started to chip away, getting the game to within as few as 50-46, but the Wildcats were able to keep them at an arm's length. Jermaine Head knocked down all three foul shots to move back up 55-48, before a 6-0 Bears' run brought the game back to within 55-54 with 4:42 left.
The Wildcats were able to extend the lead back out to seven on a layup by Jordan Harding with 2:45, but the Bears would not go away. They again chipped away and had the game at 64-62, and again at 66-64, and even had the ball with a chance to tie, but two missed three-pointers in the waning seconds were off the mark, giving the Wildcats their first CACC victory of the year.
Wilmington held the Bears to just 31 percent shooting from the floor, including holding them to just 5-of-24 from three-point territory for the game.
Jermaine Head went 13-for-13 from the foul line, breaking his own mark for most free throws made without a miss in a contest. He went 12-for-12 against Dominican last season. He finished with 24 points, four rebounds, and three assists.
Jordan Harding was the only other Wildcat in double figures with 15 points, hitting three three-pointers while adding five rebounds. Taalib Holloman and Chima Okwu-Lawrence led the team with nine rebounds each.
The Wildcats have now won three of their last four games and look to make it two in a row when they close out their nonconference portion of their schedule on Monday night at the District of Columbia. The opening tip is set for 7:00 p.m.