Coordinator of Sports Info, Athletics
320 DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720
A three-pointer from Isiah Mason broke a 43-43 tie and the Wilmington University men’s basketball team held on down the stretch to earn its first win of the 2012-13 season by defeating Chestnut Hill College, 74-66, in Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference action on Tuesday evening at the WU Athletics Complex.
The Wildcats (1-7, 1-2 CACC) carried a five point lead into the halftime break and never looked back, bending but not breaking as Chestnut Hill (3-5, 1-1 CACC) fought back to tie the game on three separate occasions.
Wilmington responded to every Griffin attack in the second half and eventually extended its lead to as large as nine points following a three-pointer from James Pee with 6:31 remaining in regulation.
The Griffins tried to make a comeback in the final five minutes of the contest, whittling the nine point deficit down to as little as two with just over two minutes remaining on the scoreboard. Chestnut Hill’s Mark DiRugeris started the run by hitting a pair of free throws and nailing a three-pointer of his own to trim a five point deficit into a 66-64 lead for the Wildcats.
The momentum swung back in favor of the Wildcats on their next trip down the floor, however, as Dusan Kojic fed a cutting Brandon Fox and a converted a lay-in as he was fouled to put the home team back on top 68-64 with 1:43 to play. Although he missed the and-one free throw, the senior big-man connected on a pair from the charity stripe on the team’s next possession to push it to a six point lead with only 52 seconds remaining.
From there, the Griffins could only close the gap to as few as four points the rest of way and Herb Dennis closed out the contest by hitting his final four foul shots to settle on the final outcome, 74-66.
A balanced attack helped pace the Wildcats to its first win of the season, as five players scored in double-digits to lead the team to its second highest scoring total of the young season. First year transfer Dusan Kojic led the Wildcats with a season high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting including going 6-of-7 from the foul line.
Senior guard Isiah Mason went a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the three-point arc to finish with 15 points off the bench while Herb Dennis went 4-for-8 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the foul line to collect 14 points. Senior James Pee hit a pair of three-points and finished with 12 points while big-man Brandon Fox grabbed a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The game went back and forth in the first half, as the teams traded five ties and five lead changes through the first 20 minutes. The Griffins led by as many as four points in the first half while the Wildcats extended its biggest lead to five on multiple occasions, the last coming as Rashaun Rasheed hit one of his two shots from the foul line with 33 seconds remaining.
Wilmington made 18 shots from the foul line on 24 attempts for the game while the Griffins only went to the charity stripe on 13 occasions. Chestnut Hill went 8-for-13 for the game from the line. Both teams made 25 field goals for the game with the Griffins hitting eight three-pointers to the Wildcats six for the contest.
The Wildcats are off until they take to the road once more on Saturday. They will head to Felician for a tip time of 3:00 p.m. in the second game of the CACC doubleheader.
Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - Newark, Del.