NEWARK, Del. - - The Wilmington University men's basketball team was looking to avenge an overtime loss from earlier in the season, but the No. 10/11 ranked Jefferson Rams were too much to overcome on Wednesday night, defeating the Wildcats, 78-62, at the WU Athletics Complex.
Ranked 10th in the NABC Coaches Poll and 11th in the D2SIDA MBB National Poll, the Rams (21-2, 14-0 CACC) won their 14th straight contest by shooting 56.1 percent from the floor (65.4 percent in the second half) and outdueling the Wildcats (8-16, 6-9 CACC) in the paint, 40-16.
In the loss, and on his final pass of the night, redshirt senior Jermaine Head surpassed Herb Dennis ('14) as the all-time leading assist getting in Wilmington's NCAA era, finishing with seven on the night to total 416 in his career.
Head grabbed a defensive rebound and put in a jumper at the other end in the early going, giving the Wildcats an 8-4 lead. The Rams scored six straight, but a Jordan Harding three-point put the game on a seesaw. Head again grabbed a defensive rebound and raced the other way, putting in a bucket to tie the game, 15-15, with 9:35 left in the first half.
But after a Wilmington timeout, the Rams went on an 11-5 run, forcing the Wildcats into another timeout down 26-20 with 5:57 left in the half. A Head three-pointer cut the deficit to three, but the Rams then rattled off seven straight to take their first double digit lead of the half, 33-23, with 3:23 to play. The Wildcats were able to cut it to eight, 35-27, heading into the break.
A quick 9-3 spurt out of the locker room put the Rams up 14, as two more free throws gave the Rams their largest lead to that point, 49-32, with 14:49 left in regulation. Jordan Harding put in an old fashioned three-point play and Danny Walsh answered with a three-point to get the Wildcats to within 13, but another 10-3 spurt by the visitors opened a 63-43 lead with 9:49 to play.
The Wildcats had one final push left in them, as they got it down to within 12 points on a couple of occasions. The first being on a 7-0 run capped by a Kam Cooper layup to force Jefferson into a timeout with 7:14 to play. Jermaine Head hit a three-pointer to get to within 12 once again with 3:57 to play, and the Wildcats backed it up with a steal. Jordan Harding then had a good look from distance, but his shot was off the mark, which would have brought the Wildcats to within single digits with more than three minutes to play.
The Rams then rattled off seven consecutive points from there, reopening a 19-point lead with 1:24 to play. Taalib Holloman ended the game with a three-pointer, giving Head his seventh assist on the night.
Head finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and two steals, hitting four three-pointers. Harding hit three triples and had 16 points and seven rebounds while Danny Walsh scored 11 points and dished out three assists.
The Wildcats remain at home for their next CACC contest, as they welcome Concordia to the WU Athletics Complex on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off is slated for 3:00 p.m.