NEWARK, Del. – Trailing by as many as 14, and by 11 midway through the second half, the University of the Sciences men's basketball team was able to make it a one-possession game four times down the stretch at Wilmington on Tuesday night.
The Devils could never come back to tie it to or take the lead though, as two 3-pointers in the final seconds fell short in an 80-77 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) loss to the Wildcats at the WU Athletics Complex.
Jordan White got USciences as close as one point ,78-77, for the first time since the 4:14 mark of the first half with a 3-pointer with just 20 seconds remaining.
After the Wildcats made two free throws, the Devils had two tough looks to force overtime that would not fall.
Wilmington's two late free throws were their first two makes, while University of the Sciences on the other hand made all 12 of its attempts. The Devils also outrebounded the Wildcats 42-33.
Wilmington outshot USciences 50.0 percent (34-of-68) to 41.2 percent (26-of-68) though, proving to be the difference in the contest.
Brandon Starr fell on point shy of a game-high with 21 points off the bench, one shy of the sophomore's career-best. He made all eight of his free throw attempts.
Paddy Casey neared a triple-double with 17 points, a career-best nine rebounds and a game-high eight assists.
Brendan Crawford recorded his second double-double in three games with 14 points and a game-high 11 boards, while White also scored 14 on 6-of-11 shooting.
Tanner Kerr had 10 rebounds, eight points, four assists, two blocks and a steal.
Wilmington scored the first five points of the evening and led by as many as 11 twice in the first half, including 21-10 8:13 into the action.
The Wildcats were still winning 31-23 with seven and a half minutes to play in the first half, before USciences rattled off eight straight points to tie the score for the first and only time at 31 on a Crawford layup with 4:51 showing.
Wilmington immediately came back with a 3-pointer though, and the Devils could never take a lead as the Wildcats took a 43-37 advantage into the locker room.
The game-high 14-point advantage, 59-45, came 4:45 into the second half, and Wilmington was still leading 67-56 with just 8:53 to play.
Back-to-back Casey 3-pointers sparked USciences to as close as two for the first time in the second half after Starr's triple made the score 69-67 with 6:34 to go.
Despite the Wildcats pushing the lead back to six exactly one minute later, the Devils also made it a one-possession game, 73-70, on three Starr foul shots with 4:13 left, and again, 78-76, on a White layup with just 1:58 showing.
University of the Sciences returns to Delaware to face Goldey-Beacom this Saturday at 3 p.m.