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Wilmington Hangs On Late to Defeat Millersville, 76-72, For First Men’s Basketball Win of Season

MBB: Wilmington 76 - Millersville 72

Thursday, November 14, 2013 - Newark, Del.

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Sophomore Shai Henry scored 16 points in helping to lead the Wildcats to their first win of the 2013-14 season. Copyright 2012; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.

Five players in double-digits led the Wilmington University men’s basketball team to a 76-72 nonconference victory over Millersville for the Wildcats’ first win of the 2013-14 season in their home opener at the WU Athletics Complex on Thursday night.

Free throws down the stretch aided the Wildcats (1-3) on Thursday night after Millersville (0-1) battled back from as large as a 16 point lead in the second half to briefly take a one points lead with three minutes remaining in regulation.

The Wildcats jumped out to a quick 8-0 to begin the game, receiving a pair of buckets from Ta’Vaune Griffin, a pair of free throws from Herb Dennis, and a layup from Rashaun Rasheed. The first half lead grew to as large as 12 points as Tyaire Ponzo-Meek converted a layup with 4:21 remaining. Shai Henry put the Wildcats up 12 again at the halftime break with a layup with five seconds remaining.

Wilmington went into the halftime break leading 44-32.

Henry converted another layup in the second half to give the home team its largest lead of the match at 16 points with 17:21 to play.

Millersville got back into the contest with the three-pointer, as the Marauders got within single digits for the first time with a three by Christian McNeely with 10:55 to play in regulation. After the teams traded buckets, the Marauders went on their second half run as a pair of free throws by McNeely with 6:23 to play brought the visitors within single digits for the remainder of the game.

The Marauders continued to press the issue, getting to within two with another three-pointer, this time by Tavon Parker with 4:44 remaining in the contest. After Griffin scored one of his two free throws, Millersville tied the match at 68 with another three-pointer by Parker with 3:23 left on the clock.

The visitors eventually took a one point lead with 3:01 to play on a pair of free throws by Kyle Richardson, but the Wildcats would not surrender and found a way to come back and win in their home-opener.

Dennis sank a pair from the charity stripe to regain the lead and the Wildcats never gave it back up. Ponzo-Meek stretched the lead to three with another pair of free throws before Griffin made it 75-50 with a layup with 22 seconds to play. Henry scored the final point of the game for the Wildcats hitting one of two from the line, capping the scoring at 76-72.

Newcomer Valentino Thompson led five Wildcats in double digits with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, hitting his lone three-pointer and sinking all three of his free throws. Henry scored 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting while converting six of his eight free throws. Griffin scored 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting while adding a team high seven rebounds. Dennis led the team with four assists awhile adding 13 points and Ponzo-Meek chipped in with 10 points off the bench, adding five rebounds.

The Wildcats shot 54 percent (27-50) from the floor while also shooting 21-of-30 from the foul line after failing at the line down the stretch in their previous game.

Wilmington returns to the road for a contest next Wednesday, as the Wildcats travel to Kutztown on November 20 for a tip-off at 7 p.m.