Press release written by Mitchell Coll
Video recap at bottom of page
NEWARK, Del. - - Back by Caleb Matthew's career-high 26 points, the Wilmington University men's basketball team held on down the stretch to beat Chestnut Hill in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference South Division contest, 84-80, at the WU Athletics Complex on Sunday afternoon.
The Wildcats (5-15, 2-8 CACC) started the first half on fire from the field, shooting 70.4 percent and 66.7 percent from beyond the arc. The 'Cats never trailed in the game and led by as high of 15 points, Coming towards the end of the first half.
The Griffins (10-8, 7-3 CACC), down 14 with 9:38 left to play, found a way to cut the deficit to as little as two with a Conor Regan layup to make the score 82-80.
Caleb Matthews had a career-high afternoon at the Complex, with 26 points on 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point land. Randy Rickards finished with a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, five of them on the offensive glass. He started the scoring for the 'Cats first three possessions with a jump shot off of a find from freshman guard, Ethan Tarte, and then followed by a lay-up the next position later. Then, the next position he hits a free throw. Matthews starting to heat up with two threes made at 18:06 and 16:47. Those were two of his four made threes in the first half.
Danny Walsh also had a strong first-half showing, matching Matthew's perfect shooting percentage from deep, with two made three-pointers. The first three-point shot helped the Wildcats push the lead to 12 with 8:37 left, off of a find from Taalib Holloman. The second three-pointer gave the Wildcats a 14-point lead, with a 37-23 lead with 5:29 left. The half ended with a Matthews' three assisted by Rickards. The 'Cats went into the half with a 46-35 lead.
The first 10 minutes of the second half were all Wildcats. Matthews saw nine of his points in the first 10 minutes, scoring in a variety of ways, with a pair of jump shots, two made free throws, and another three.
The Griffins would not go quietly down the stretch, with six different Griffin's scoring in the last 10 minutes, putting on a display of a total team effort. Showing composure in the final minutes by grabbing defensive rebounds and taking advantage of being in double-bonus and sinking free throws. Holloman's lay-in off of a find from Danny Walsh pushed the lead to 14 with 10:33 left, which proved to help the Wildcats as they were on the wrong end of 11-2 run by the Griffin's that closed it to nine with 6:41 left to play. Then another late run of 16-6, helped find the Griffin's to be within 3 with 1:24 left.
Senior Danny Walsh showed his leadership and poise down the stretch by hitting clutch free throws from initial fouls by the Griffins to help snap a seven-game losing streak by the 'Cats. Walsh finished with 18 points, three assists, and three rebounds. Ethan Tarte finished with 12 points and Justin Thomas scored eight points, six boards, and two assists.
The Wildcats travel to Philadelphia next to take on Holy Family on Tuesday, February 1st, tip-off set for 7:30 PM. The 'Cats are back home, this upcoming Saturday versus Caldwell at 3:00 PM.