PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - - After a strong start to Tuesday's night game, the Wilmington University men's basketball needed to hang on down the stretch to sweep the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference season series from Holy Family, 70-60, inside the Campus Center.
For the first time this season, the Wildcats (6-15, 3-8 CACC) won back-to-back games after defeating Chestnut Hill on Sunday as well. They remain in fourth place in the CACC South Division, starting the final month of the regular season off strong.
Leading 11-10 in the early going, a Danny Walsh three-pointer sparked a 21-9 run that spanned nearly nine minutes of game time, as the Wildcats took their largest lead of the night, 32-19, with 5:14 to play before the break. Six different Wildcats scored during the run, shooting 9-of-13 from the floor, including a pair of three-pointers, to take the 13-point lead.
But the Tigers (7-16, 2-11 CACC) answered right back, finishing the rest of the half on an 11-2 run of their own to close the gap and only trail, 34-30, going into the locker room.
Despite having strong second halves all season, the Wildcats found themselves on their heels to start the final 20 minutes on Tuesday night. The Tigers continued their run into the second half, scoring the first nine points and taking a 39-34 lead with 15:15 left in regulation.
After the 20-2 run by the Tigers, the Wildcats were still in the contest and then scored the next 11 points to regain momentum and the lead. Justin Thomas started the run with layup before Randy Rickards hit one of two from the foul line. Danny Walsh continued the run with back-to-back three-pointers before Randy Rickards flushed one off a feed from Taalib Holloman to make it 45-39 with 11:18 to play.
The Tigers didn't roll over, however, fighting back to eventually tying the game, 49-49, and even taking a lead, 53-52, with 4:32 showing on the clock. A free throw gave the Tigers the 56-54 lead with 3:34 to play, but they didn't know at the time that would be their last lead of the game.
Caleb Matthews put in a tough layup to tie the game, 56-56, hitting the ensuing free-throw to give the Wildcats the lead with 3:10 to play. Matthews then came back and laid in another tough layup in the paint before Danny Walsh hit a three-pointer and all of a sudden the Wildcats led 62-56 with 1:29 to play.
Danny Walsh finished with 24 points, shooting 6-of-11 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from three-point territory while adding 8-of-9 from the foul line. Randy Rickards scored 15 points to go with nine rebounds and four blocks while Caleb Matthews put in 10 points with six rebounds and five assists.
The Wildcats will look to make it three in a row as they return to the WU Athletics Complex on Saturday afternoon. They will compete against Caldwell with a 3:00 p.m. opening tip.