Second Half Shooting Ends Wilmington Men’s Basketball Seven Game Skid, 81-73, over Caldwell
MBB: Wilmington 81 - Caldwell 73
Saturday, February 16, 2013 - Newark, Del.
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Junior Herbert Dennis scored 14 points, 11 of which came in the second half, to lead the comeback over Caldwell on Saturday. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Senior James Pee came off the bench to score 12 points, including a three-pointer, on Saturday against Caldwell. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Freshman Tajee Almon heads to the basket in the first half against Caldwell. He would hit the bucket, but miss the ensuring free throw. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Trailing by five at halftime with its season on the line, the Wilmington University men’s basketball team came out to shoot 55.6 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes, leading to an 81-73 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference victory over visiting Caldwell at the WU Athletics Complex on Saturday afternoon.
The win snapped a seven game losing skid but more importantly helped keep Wilmington (5-18, 5-10 CACC) in the CACC playoff hunt, putting the pressure back on the University of the Sciences. The Wildcats needed to win its final three games of the regular season with the Devils dropping all three to end in a regular season tie for the fourth and final playoff spot, but the Wildcats would hold the tiebreaker with victories versus top teams.
But USciences did not want it to come down to a tie-breaker, defeating Bloomfield on Saturday, keeping the Wildcats out of the CACC Tournament at the end of the year.
Brandon Fox led the Wildcats in scoring for the fifth time in the last seven games, tallying 17 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field, while adding 3-of-4 from the foul line. Herbert Dennis scored 14 points, 11 of which came in the second half to lead the comeback. James Pee came off the bench to tally 12 points, hitting 4-of-9 from the floor and hitting 3-of-4 from the charity stripe. Isiah Mason was the final Wildcat in double digits, also coming off the bench to score 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting.
The Cougars (7-18, 3-13 CACC) lead for the most of the first half, as well as for the first 4:34 of the second half before a layup from Fox tied the game at 44-44. Caldwell grabbed as large as a 13 points lead in the first half, as Kairo Rochford converted a pair of free throws to help the Cougars to a 29-13 lead with 10:10 remaining in the half.
Trailing by 11, Pee first hit a two-point bucket before draining his lone three-pointer of the game to cut the lead to six points with 7:27 to play in the first. On the team’s next possession, Mason hit his only three-pointer of the game to cut the deficit to three. Eventually, freshman Tajee Almon scored two of his seven points at the 4:45 mark to give the Wildcats its only lead of the first stanza at 33-32. The Cougars would respond with an 8-2 run to end the half and head into the locker room with a 40-35 lead.
Caldwell held onto the lead for the first 4:34 of the second half before Fox laid one home from a feed from Dusan Kojic to tie the game for the first time at 44. After Caldwell regained the lead, Shaq Gaskins gave the Wildcats for good, hitting his only three-pointer of the game with 11:41 showing on the clock to put the home team up 50-48.
The Cougars clawed back to within a point one two different occasions in the final 10 minutes, but the Wildcats never broke, even taking as large as a nine point lead down the stretch before settling for the 81-73 victory.
The Cougars were led by Wyatt Polk who scored a game high 22 points while Dawan Lighty added 14 points. Rochford came off the bench to add 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting and 6-of-7 from the foul line, while leading scorer Michael Balkovic was held to 10 points in the contest.
The Wildcats shot 15-of-27 in the second half to finish 29-fo4-58 (50 percent) from the floor for the game. They also used six three pointers from five different players to go 6-of-18 from three-point land for the game. Wilmington settled the game by hitting 13-of-17 free throws in the second half, ending 17-of-24 for the game.
Wilmington will take to the road one more time this season, making up the contest at Bloomfield from February 9 on this coming Thursday. The CACC contest will start at 8 p.m. in Bloomfield Gym.