A career high 28 points from Wilmington University men's basketball sophomore Tyaire Ponzo-Meek wasn't enough to cool the hot shooting NYIT Bears on Saturday afternoon at Recreation Hall. The Bears won the nonconference battle, 107-93, shooting 55.2 percent from the floor.
Seven first half three-pointers led the Bears (2-4) allowed the home team to go into the halftime break leading by 21, including a fade-away three-pointer at the buzzer. Ponzo-Meek shot 7-of-12 from the floor and 13-of-17 from the foul line to lead the Wildcats (0-5) while freshman Jalen Henriquez added a season's best 18 points, hitting three three-pointers off the bench.
The Bears used a 25-13 run over the final 5:47 of the first half to head into the halftime break with a 58-37 lead. NYIT hit a pair of three-pointers, as well as hitting all three free throws following a foul on a three-pointer during the stretch, going 9-of-10 from the foul line.
The Bears' lead was 65-43 before the Wildcats went on a 12-3 run to close the margin to 13 with 14:02 remaining in regulation. Ponzo-Meek scored the first four points for the Wildcats before a Ta'Vaune Griffin Dunk and a Valentino Thompson layup on back-to-back possessions had the Wildcats to within 15 at 66-51. Rashaun Rasheed hit a pair from the charity stripe before Thompson hit a jumper to have the game at 13 points for the first time since 2:40 remaining in the first half.
But the Bears battled back to grow their lead back out to 20 points with 10:02 to play and led by as many as 21 points with 2:21 showing on the clock. Ponzo-Meek, Sam Sanders, and Henriquez all hit three-pointers down the stretch, closing the gap to 14 as the final buzzer sounded.
Rasheed also ended in double digits with 13, shooting 5-of-9 from the floor and a perfect 3-of-3 from the foul line. The senior also grabbed a team high eight rebounds.
The Wildcats shot 44.8 percent from the floor for the game, but only hit 5-of-13 from deep while the Bears hit 13-of-22 from three-point territory for the contest. Both teams missed 13 foul shots throughout the 40-minute contest.
The Wildcats have a quick turnaround following Saturday's game, as they come home for their 2014-15 home opener on Sunday against Kutztown. The Wildcats and Golden Bears will open the game with a 3 p.m. tip-off.