PHILADELPHIA – Herb Magee's quest to become the second men's basketball coach in NCAA history to win 1,000 career games has to wait at least a few more days after the Philadelphia University men's basketball team was upended by visiting Wilmington 72-70 in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) contest Tuesday night in the Gallagher Center.
The loss keeps Magee on 999 career victories and moves the Rams' record to 14-6 overall, 8-3 in the CACC. Magee's next shot at 1,000 comes on Saturday, Feb. 7 against CACC opponent Post University in the Gallagher Center.
Philadelphia owned a 55-546 advantage after a Peter Alexis (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Holy Reedemer) jumper capped off an 18-6 run with 9:47 left in the contest.
Wilmington (8-15, 7-7 CACC) fought back, hitting six of its next seven attempts, to trim the Philadelphia lead to 62-61 on a Valentino Thompson layup. After Alexis made a layup to put the Rams up 64-61, the Wildcats scored nine of the next 10 points to go up 70-65 on a Tyaire Ponzo-Meek second-chance 3-pointer from the left wing with 43 seconds left.
Andre Gibbs (Smyrna, Del./Smyrna) got the comeback effort started with a driving layup to cut the gap to 70-67. Trailing 71-67 after a 1-for-2 trip to the line for Thompson, Nick Schlitzer (Pottsville, Pa.) got fouled in the left corner and drained all three free-throw attempts, as a part of his team-high 21 points, to pull Philadelphia within 71-70 with 14 left.
Once again the Rams fouled Thompson, and he made just one free throw to give the Rams left. After Magee called timeout with five seconds left to set up the potential game-winning play, the ball ended up in Schlitzer's hands, but his 3-point attempt at the buzzer bounced off the back of the rim.
The Wildcats led by as many as nine in the first half when Thompson made a layup to make the score 15-6 just 6:14 into the contest. Wilmington remained in front until Derek Johnson (Conshohocken, Pa./Atlantic Christian) tied the game at 37 at the 16:44 mark of the second half. Philadelphia's first lead of the night (41-40) came on an Alexis layup 1:17 later.
Alexis had 17 points and eight points. TJ Huggins (Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams) contributed 12 points, while Johnson finished with 11 points and six rebounds.
Ponzo-Meek was Wilmington's leading scorer with 24 points. Thompson poured in 18 points and Rashaun Rasheed added 14 points.