RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Despite seeing three of its players record "double-doubles," the Felician University men's basketball team was defeated by visiting Wilmington (Del.) University, 82-73, in Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference action on Wednesday night at Job Gymnasium.
Sophomore Terrell Spaulding (Paterson, N.J./Eastside), Felician's top scorer and rebounder, returned after missing four games due to injury and turned in 19 points and 10 boards. Senior Kennedy Chukwuocha (Willingboro, N.J./Medford Tech) (6-8 FG) had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and classmate Bryant Webb (Parlin, N.J./Sayreville War Memorial) came off the Golden Falcons bench to record 15 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in 27 minutes.
Wilmington senior Tyaire Ponzo-Meek (Wilmington, Del./Howard) topped all players with 30 points while adding seven rebound and three steals. The Wildcats (10-5, 5-1 CACC) also received 23 points and five steals from junior Nick Richards (New Castle, Del./Hodgson Vo-Tech).
Felician led, 12-2 after 4 ½ minutes of play, but the Wildcats recovered to knot the score at 16-16 with just over nine minutes gone by in the contest. The teams remained within two possessions of each other until the final two minutes of the period, with the visitors emerging with a 38-30 halftime lead. The Golden Falcons were held to 31-percent shooting for the period and committed 16 first-half turnovers.
Wilmington used a lay-up and three-pointer by Richards on consecutive possessions to assume its largest advantage of the night, 57-42, with 14:38 left in regulation time. Felician, however, rattled off 16 consecutive points over the next four minutes, with a three-pointer by Tim Massado (Wilmington, Del./St. Elizabeth) giving the hosts a 58-57 lead at the 10:40 mark.
After the teams traded buckets, the Wildcats took the lead for good with a 9-0 run. Felician chopped an eight-point deficit to 71-69 at 3:58, but Ponzo-Meek then buried a three, and the Golden Falcons missed their next five shots as time wound down. The Wildcats secured the victory by going 8 for 8 at the free-throw line (6 for 6 by Ponzo-Meek) over the final three minutes.
The Wildcats outscored Felician, 23-8, at the foul line to help offset a 46-37 rebounding disadvantage. Wilmington converted 19 Golden Falcon turnovers into 25 points, and held the hosts to 37-percent shooting for the night. Felician canned just nine of 35 attempts from distance (26 percent).
Junior Gjaimeir Stanford (Wilmington, Del./Howard) totaled 11 points and Massado finished with nine for Felician (6-9, 3-4).
The Golden Falcons are home again on Saturday, when they take on Philadelphia University at 3:30 p.m.