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A jumper from the right elbow as time expired by Herb Dennis rimmed out and the Wilmington University men’s basketball team couldn’t pull off the upset as Dominican came through in the extra period, 72-68, on Saturday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
Leading for a majority of the contest, the Wildcats (2-11, 2-4 CACC) carried a one point lead into the halftime break and led by two points as late as 2:23 remaining on the scoreboard. But the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference North Division leading Dominican (12-2, 6-0 CACC) hit all eight of its free throws in overtime to remain unbeaten in the conference.
The home team led for the majority of the first half, gaining as large as a nine point lead before the Chargers eventually took a three point lead with 2:10 showing before the halftime buzzer. Dusan Kojic hit his first three-pointer of the season to kick start a 7-0 run over a 2:41 span early in the first half to give the Wildcats an 18-9 lead with 12:42 to play.
But back came the Chargers as they took their second lead of the half on a three pointer from Preston Smith with 2:10 to play. Dennis hit a shot for Wilmington to put the teams on the seesaw, ending as freshman Tajee Almon came on in the final two seconds to lay home an inbounds play to give the Wildcats a slim 35-34 lead at the half.
The Wildcats came flying out of the gates to open the second half, going on a 10-1 run to take a 10 point lead in the first three minutes of action. The run extended to 14-5 to retake a 10 point lead, their largest of the game, with 14:45 remaining in regulation.
Senior Andrew Corrigan started the run with his lone bucket of the day, driving to the basket and finishing a tough lay-in to open the half. James Pee hit back-to-back three-pointers, the second following a steal and great hustle play by Dennis to grab two offensive rebounds before kicking it out to Pee for a three in the corner (pictured at bottom right). Isiah Mason would put the Wildcats back up 10 with a layup at the 14:45 mark, but that is when the Chargers made their run.
Dominican used a 9-2 over the next two minutes to cut the deficit to three points, and another 8-0 run to take a 60-58 lead with 3:17 showing on the scoreboard. It was the visitors’ first lead since there were 31 seconds remaining in the first half.
A pair of free throws from Mason retied the contest at 60-60 with 2:59 to play, but Dominican’s AJ Burton stepped to the line and nailed his two foul shots to give the Chargers a two point edge with 2:37 remaining. The Wildcats were able to come back down the court on their next possession and tie the game once again, this time on a layup form Brandon Fox. The game would remain tied leading up to Dennis’ last second game-winning attempt.
Dominican scored the first four points off foul shots in the extra period before a bank-shot three-pointer from Dennis brought the home team back to within one. The Chargers’ Leon Porter hit a floater form the baseline to put the Chargers back up three and visitors hit their final four foul shots down the stretch to close out the contest.
The Wildcats were led by a quartet of double digit scorers as Fox and Dennis tied for a team high 16 points each. Pee added 13 points while Mason scored 10 off the bench. The team shot 27-for-62 (43.5 percent) from the floor and 7-for-8 from the foul line while converting on 7-of-18 three-pointers.
Wilmington held the reigning CACC Co-Player of the Year Corey Quimby to only nine points, but he grabbed 11 boards in the win. Porter led all scorers with 20 points. The Chargers went 19-of-21 form the foul line, but shot a dismal 3-of-20 from beyond the three-point arc.
The Wildcats will return to the hardwood on Tuesday, January 8 against their cross-town rivals Goldey-Beacom. They will hit the road for the first time in exactly a month with the opening tip slated for 6 p.m.
Published: Saturday, January 5, 2013 - Newark, Del.