Wildcats Stumble Down the Stretch, Fall to Visiting NYIT, 85-83, in Men’s Basketball Action
MBB: NYIT 85 - Wilmington 83 (OT)
Saturday, November 30, 2013 - Newark, Del.
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Junior Valentino Thompson scoops and scores in the second half against NYIT on Saturday. He the Wildcats with 18 points. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Sophomore Ta'Vaune Griffin goes strong to the hoop in the first half against NYIT. He secured a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
Senior Herb Dennis turns a steal into a fastbreak layup in the first half against NYIT. He scored 15 points and now has 986 career points. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
The Wilmington University men’s basketball team stumbled down the stretch in regulation against the New York Institute of Technology on Saturday, leading for a majority of the contest before falling, 85-83, in overtime at the WU Athletics Complex.
Leading by nine points with 3:28 remaining in regulation, the Bears (2-3 overall) went on a 12-3 run to close out the second half, tying the match at 70-70 with a layup by their big-man Markus Moore with 27 seconds left. The Wildcats’ (3-5 overall) shot on the final possession was blocked at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.
The momentum carried into the overtime period for the Bears, as they hit their first four shots, one of which turned into a three-point play, and grabbed a six point lead with 3:01 remaining in the extra period.
The Wildcats clawed back, however, and even had an opportunity to tie the match at the end of the overtime period. They got the deficit to within three with a layup by Ta’Vaune Griffin with 14 seconds left, and was still in the game after the Bears could only convert one-of-two from the ensuing trip to the foul line. Valentino Thompson closed the gap to two points by hitting both of his two foul shots with 10 seconds remaining.
NYIT helped the Wilmington cause at the end by missing a pair from the line with two seconds remaining, and Thompson and the Wildcats came racing back down the floor looking to tie the game. Thompson got into the lane but was denied by the Bears’ Moore who collected his 11th blocked shot of the game with three seconds left.
The ensuing inbounds play find a cutting Shaq Monroe-Gaskins down the middle of the paint, but his shot was off the mark at the buzzer, giving the Bears the two-point victory.
With only three ties throughout the first 39 minutes of game action, the Wildcats never trailed prior to the overtime period. They led by as many as 10 points in the game, following a pair of free-throws by Tyaire Ponzo-Meek with 2:49 showing on the clock in the first half. The home team took a 44-37 lead into the halftime break as well.
The game was tied briefly at 46-46 and again at 50-50 in the second half before the Wildcats gained as large as a nine point lead with 3:28 to play.
NYIT’s Moore led the comeback by collecting a triple-double, scoring 13 points with game highs of 17 points and a remarkable 11 blocked shots. Phil Izevnehai scored a game high 21 points for the Bears.
The Wildcats were led by Thompson’s 18 points, as he shot 7-of-12 from the field. Herb Dennis inched closer to the 1,000 career point plateau with 15 on Saturday while also grabbing seven rebounds. He now has 986 points in his four year career. Griffin added a double-double for the Wildcats, scoring 13 points while grabbing a team high 13 rebounds for the home team.
Wilmington held a 23-19 scoring advantage from the bench players, as Drew Johnson and Ponzo-Meek each tallied eight points in a reserved role. Monroe-Gaskins added five points off the bench while Tyrik Gass collected the final two points for the Wildcats.
Saturday was the first of three straight games at the WU Athletics Complex for the Wildcats, as they return to action and to Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference play on Wednesday against USciences. The CACC doubleheader starts with the women’s match at 6 p.m., followed by the men at 8 p.m.