Wildcats' Start Fast, Hang On in the Second Half in 76-70 Men’s Basketball Victory at Kutztown
MBB: Wilmington 76 - Kutztown 70
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - Kutztown, Pa.
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Senior Herb Dennis led the Wildcats with 19 points at Kutztown and now stands with 923 career points. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Sophomore Shai Henry scored 15 points and added five rebounds at Kutztown on Wednesday night. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Senior Shaq Monroe-Gaskins scored 13 points off the bench, hitting three three-pointers at Kutztown. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
A quick start allowed the Wilmington University men’s basketball team to go wire-wire at Kutztown, holding on in the second half to win 76-70 on Wednesday night inside Keystone Arena.
The win was the second straight win for the Wildcats (2-3), both coming against PSAC opponents. The Wildcats defeated Millersville last Thursday for their first win of the season before taking down Kutztown (1-1) tonight. Wilmington squares off against Shippensburg later in the season to round out its contests against PSAC schools.
The Wildcats scored the first six points of the contest, as Shai Henry and Herb Dennis a pair of three-pointers early. A second three-pointer by Dennis gave the Wildcats a 13-3 lead in the first four minutes of the game before Ta’Vaune Griffin slammed home a dunk from Dennis after the first media timeout for a 15-5 lead.
Griffin gave the Wildcats its largest lead of the first half with a layup with 12:38 remaining, putting the visitors up 20-9.
The Golden Bears were able to cut into the first half deficit, getting as close as three points after an 8-0 run to pull within 20-17 with 10:49 to play in the opening 20 minutes. But the Wildcats were able to hold off the Bears’ run and get the lead back out to nine moments later. Shaq Monroe-Gaskins hit a pair of free throws before Valentino Thompson converted a traditional three-point play with 39 seconds to play in the first half, capping the scoring at 39-29 before heading into the halftime break.
The Wilmington lead ballooned to as large as 12 early in the second half after back-to-back buckets by Rashaun Rasheed and Henry. But the Bears would not roll over easily from there on out.
A three-pointer by Ryan Connolly cut the Bears’ deficit to six points with 15:50 to play before another bucket by Connelly make it 47-43 in favor of Wilmington with 13:34 left in regulation.
The home team continued to cut into the lead, as three straight baskets made it a one point game at 52-51 for the Bears with 11:13 left on the clock. But they would never be able to get over the hump against the Wildcats.
Another run for Kutztown put them within one once again at 58-57 with 6:46, but Thompson kept Bears at bay with a layup on the Wildcats’ next possession. Another Kutztown jumper made it 60-59 with 4:40 to play but then Thompson converted another traditional three-point play to stop any momentum for the home team.
Dennis hit another three-pointer with 2:23 to play to open the lead back out to 69-60 while a put-back lay-in by Griffin made it 72-62 with 1:33 to play, giving Wilmington some much needed comfort room.
Wilmington only hit 4-of-10 from the foul line following Griffin’s put-back, but The Bears’ offense went silent down the stretch, allowing the Wildcats to come away with the six point victory.
Dennis led four Wildcats in double figures with 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting, going 3-of-4 from three-point territory and 4-of-4 from the foul line. Dennis, a senior and four-year starter, now has 923 career points.
Henry tallied 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting while Thompson finished with 13 points and a game high four assists. Monroe-Gaskins also scored 13 points, coming off the bench to hit three three-pointers and go 4-of-8 from the foul line. For the game, the Wildcats went 7-of-11 from beyond the three-point arc.
The Wildcats remain out of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference for one more contest as they head down the road to Lincoln University on Saturday. The game is part of a men’s and women’s doubleheader with the men scheduled to tip following the women at 4 p.m.