PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - - A three-point barrage to start the second half allowed Thomas Jefferson to battle back and take a 67-60 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference victory from the Wilmington University men's basketball team on Wednesday night at the Gallagher Athletic Center.
The Wildcats (2-6, 0-1 CACC) held as large as a 10-point lead in the first half and carried a four-point lead into the halftime break, but the Rams (4-2, 1-0 CACC) came out and hit five of their first six three-pointers to steal the momentum and never look back.
The Wildcats used a 14-0 run early in the first half to take a 17-7 lead, capped by a Caleb Matthews three-pointer with 11:52 to play in the half. A Danny Walsh layup gave the Wildcats a 10-point lead once more, 19-9, with 9:59 left before a Caleb Matthews mid-range jumper with 5:49 showing on the clock gave the Wildcats a 21-12 lead. But then the Rams fought back, going on a 7-0 run of their own to close the gap to 21-19 with 3:46 left.
Randy Rickards and Justin Thomas answered to regain a six-point lead but the Rams had the final say in the half, scoring in the final seconds to cut the deficit to four, 27-23, going into the halftime break.
The Rams missed their first three-pointer of the second half, but then sank five straight, including back-to-back possessions to tie and take the lead, 31-28. Danny Walsh hit a mid-range jumper to get to within a single point, but two more three-pointers from the Rams put them up seven, 37-30, with 15:25 left.
Randy Rickards converted an old-fashioned three-point play and then Ethan Tarte put in a pair from the line to close the gap to 37-35, but that would be as close as the Wildcats could get the rest of the game.
The Rams' lead grew to as large as nine halfway through the second half, but the Wildcats wouldn't go away. Danny Walsh hit one of his four three-pointers on the night with bring the Wildcats back to within 51-48, before another one of his three-pointer had the Wildcats as close as 58-55, with 2:21 to play.
Walsh had a three to tie it on the Wildcats' next possession, but it was off the mark and the Rams used an offensive rebound to take a five-point lead, 60-55. Free-throws pushed the lead back out to nine points in the final minute before settling on the final score, 67-70.
Danny Walsh led the Wildcats with 16 points, hitting three three-pointers in the second half. Randy Rickards scored 13 points and finished with a team high eight rebounds while Ethan Tarte chipped in with 10 points as well.
The Wildcats remain in the CACC with their next contest, as they welcome Holy Family to the WU Athletics Complex on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats and Tigers are scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. tip, following the women's game.