PHILADLPHIA – The University of the Sciences men's basketball team fell victim to two late Wilmington rallies on Wednesday night, eventually falling to the Wildcats 89-87 in overtime in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) contest at Bobby Morgan Arena on Wednesday night.
The Devils led by nine, 76-69, with less than two minutes to play in regulation and by four, 87-83, in the final minutes of overtime.
Wilmington went on a mini 6-1 spurt to make it a one-possession game,77-75, for the first time since the 7:50 mark of the second half with just 57 seconds remaining in regulation, but Paddy Casey's 3-pointer for a five-point advantage with just 28 seconds left seemed like it would be the final dagger.
The Wildcats took just four seconds to drive the length of the floor for a layup though, and after two missed USciences free throws they tied the score for the first time in the second half, 80-80, on a three-point play with just 13 seconds showing.
University of the Sciences still had an opportunity to win it in regulation but the shot would not fall, sending the Devils to their third overtime in four contests.
USciences recovered nicely from Wilmington's late surge to take the first lead of overtime on Tanner Kerr's three-point play 36 seconds into the extra period, and after Brendan Crawford scored his fourth straight Devils point they were leading 87-83 with just 2:15 to go.
University of the Sciences would not score the rest of the way though, with Wilmington converting 6-of-8 free throws over the final 2:03 to close out the night's scoring.
The Wildcats tied the score and took their first lead, 88-87, since the first half on two foul shots with 32 seconds left, before making 1-of-2 for a two-point advantage 15 seconds later.
USciences had one final opportunity to tie or take the lead, but the Devils could not get a shot off as they turned the ball over.
Crawford produced his third 20-point effort in four contests, falling one point shy of his career-high with 25 points. He also added eight rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block.
Kerr helped USciences dominate the glass, pulling down a new career-best 19 boards as the Devils outrebound Wilmington 48-37.
Michael Fox had a career-high seven rebounds himself, to go along with career-bests of 14 points and three assists.
Casey made a career-high six 3-pointers as USciences made 12 as a team, its most since at least the beginning of the 2011-12 season.
The two teams traded seven lead changes and two ties over the first 7:04, staying within two possessions until Wilmington took its largest lead of the night, 32-25, with 3:29 to play in the first half.
University of the Sciences closed the half on a 12-1 run though, to take a 37-33 advantage into the locker room after Crawford scored the last basket of the half.
The Devils would hold on to that advantage throughout the near entirety of the second half, growing it to as large as 11, 72-63, with just 3:39 remaining in regulation.
University of the Sciences travels to Post for a 1 p.m. tip this Saturday, Jan. 19.