NEWARK, Del. - - Trailing by as many as 13 points in the second half, the Wilmington University men's basketball team came back to defeat the University of the District of Columbia, 74-67, on Wednesday night at the WU Athletics Complex.
Freshman Jordan Jackson scored 11 points in the second half and lifted the Wildcats (2-4) with a pair of dunks at one end and a pair of blocks at the other.
Trailing by eight points with 10:25 left in the second half, the Wildcats rattled off seven straight to get to within a point. After a pair of free throws from the Firebirds (1-5), Jackson then hit his first three-pointer of the year to tie the game, 53-53. Taalib Holloman than finished with an offensive rebound and put back to give the Wildcats the lead, 55-53, with 6:44 to play, the team's first lead since a 2-0 start at the beginning of the game.
Back-to-back layups by Kameron Cooper gave the Wildcats a 63-56 lead and then Jordan Jackson met Hartnel Haye at the rim and denied the dunk to keep momentum on the Wildcats side with 3:44 to play. The block led to a fastbreak the other way and Danny Walsh finished the layup for the Wildcats' largest lead of the game, a nine-point advantage.
The Firebirds got the deficit down to five points on a few different occasions but Jackson was there again to stem the tide. The freshman from Michigan grabbed a defensive rebound and took it the length of the court and slammed it home for the 70-63 lead with only 45 seconds showing on the clock.
The Wildcats shot 38.7 percent from the floor in the first half, but came out of the break and shot 17-of-31 from the floor (54.8 percent) in the second half. They also turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, but finished the game with only 15 turnovers. They also stepped up the defense, forcing the Firebirds into 10 second half turnovers and turning those into 12 points at the other end. The Wildcats also outscored the Firebirds, 28-16, in the paint in the second half.
Randy Rickards led the Wildcats with 14 points and 11 rebounds for the double-double, as the Wildcats had five players in double figures. Jordan Jackson and Caleb Matthews came off the bench to score 13 points each while Matthews added seven rebounds as well. Kam Cooper scored 11 points to go with three assists while Taalib Holloman came off the bench to shot 4-of-6 from the floor for 11 points.
The Wildcats have one more nonconference tune-up before league play starts next week. The Wildcats head to Bloomsburg on Sunday for a 2:00 p.m. tilt.