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Wilmington Men’s Basketball Win Streak Snapped, 75-64, at CACC South Leading Philadelphia

MBB: Philadelphia 75 - Wilmington 64

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - Philadelphia, Pa.

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Freshman Tyaire Ponzo-Meek scored a season high 15 points off the bench while also grabbing five boards and dishing out three assists on Wednesday at Philadelphia. Copyright 2014; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.



Sophomore Ta'Vaune Griffin secured his team leading fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while also recording two blocks on Wednesday at Philadelphia. Copyright 2014; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by Althea Davidson.

A two-game winning streak was snapped as the Wilmington University men’s basketball team’s second half comeback ran out of steam and Philadelphia held on for a 75-64 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference victory at the Gallagher Center on Wednesday night.

The Wildcats (9-14, 5-9 CACC) closed to as few as three points with 3:14 to play, but the Rams (17-5, 11-2 CACC) scored nine of the next 11 points to regain a double digit lead and earn their sixth straight CACC victory. Philadelphia has now won 10 of their last 11 games overall.

Wilmington battled from behind all contest long, falling behind 7-0 before scoring their first bucket on a jumper by Herb Dennis 2:21 into the game. The Rams took their first double digit lead of the game at 24-13 with 8:05 to play in the first half, taking as large as a 17 point lead in the opening 20 minutes. Philadelphia took a 14 point lead into the halftime break.

Wilmington immediately began to chip away at the deficit in the second half, scoring the first seven points to close to within 37-30 with 15:41 remaining. Philadelphia ran the margin back out to 16 at 47-31 with 12:55 showing on the scoring, before the Wildcats made another run on the road.

Trailing by 11 with 5:05 to play, freshman Tyaire Ponzo-Meek started an 8-0 run over the next two minutes to bring the Wildcats to the closest they’ve been since the beginning of the game. Ponzo-Meek hit one of two from the foul line, followed by a pair from the charity stripe from Dennis. Ta’Vaune Griffin tipped home an offensive rebound before Shaq Monroe-Gaskins made the first of his two foul shots. Griffin finished the run off with a pair of free throws, bringing the Wildcats to within three at 60-57 with 3:14 to play in regulation.

But the Rams responded with six straight points to open the lead back up to nine points, before regaining an 11 point lead with 38 seconds showing on the clock. Valentino Thompson hit a three-pointer with 31 seconds to play, but the Rams finished the scoring with three foul shots the rest of the way, settling on the final tally.

Griffin led the Wildcats with his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Ponzo-Meek scored a season high 15 points to lead five Wildcats in double figures, shooting 5-of-11 from the floor and adding 4-of-5 from the foul line. Thompson added 12 points while Dennis and Tyrik Gass chipped in with 11 points each. Gass added eight rebounds to narrowly miss the double-double.

Wilmington took care of the ball on Wednesday night, turning the ball over a season low three times. The Wildcats forced the Rams into seven turnovers, creating five steals. The seven turnovers turned into seven points for the Wildcats while 17 offensive rebounds resulted in 22 second chance points.

A pair of Rams reached a career plateau on Wednesday night as both Nick Schlitzer and Nick Christian scored the 1,000th point in their careers. They became the 50th and 51st players in Philadelphia history to score 1,000 career points, respectively.

Philadelphia also had five players in double figures, led by Peter Alexis’ 10th double-double of the year, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Christian also finished with a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Derek Johnson scored 18 points, Andre Gibbs added 16 points, and Schlitzer finished with 13 points for the Rams.

With the loss and a victory by Goldey-Beacom at Holy Family, the Wildcats fall to two games behind the Lightning for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division. The Wildcats have five games, including one against the Lightning, to catch and pass their cross-town rivals.

Wilmington remains on the road for its next two contests, starting with a game at Dominican on Saturday. The CACC cross division contest is set for a 3 p.m. start.