Men’s Basketball Loses Close One in Home Opener

JAMES MIRANDA, Sports Editor

The Pace University Setters men’s basketball team (1-2, 0-0 NE-10) was edged out 62-61 by the Wilmington University Wildcats (2-1, 0-0 CACC) in the home opener Wednesday night at Goldstein Fitness Center.

Pace came in off their first win of the 2015-16 season beating Dowling University 72-65 on Nov. 14. They also collected 79 rebounds, had a .419 field goal percentage, and had 29 turnovers.

Six fouls within the first 10 minutes went alongside of turnovers and lulled the Pace offense and passing game.

It was back-and-forth through the first 10 minutes. At the 13:44 mark, guard Ryan Peterson completed a layup to give the Setters a 12-11 lead. After that the offense went 0-11 in field goal opportunities. Guard Shelton Mickell ended the slump with a 3-pointer at the 7:25 mark to cut the deficit to 18-17.

“We have a tendency to take a lot of shots sometimes,” said forward Kyle Pearson, who led the team with 17 points. “[Mickell’s 3-pointer] woke us up, definitely. It’s always good to see one go in for the whole team. If one person gets hot it spreads.”

Pace emphatically closed the half with a dunk by Pearson, but trailed 31-29. Out of the gate in the second quarter, Pace played aggressive defense and went on a 13-8 run to lead 44-38 at the 13:04 mark in the second half.

“We know that defense is going to win games, so we tried to come out with as much energy as we can,” said Peterson, who leads the team with 10 3-pointers through the first three games.

3-pointers from Wildcats’ guards Brian Adkins and Tyaire Ponzo-Meek at the 3:40 and 1:19 marks, respectively, decided the game. The Wildcats were 10-23 (.435) on 3-pointers.

Pace went 0-5 after the 3-pointer with a minute to score. Pearson missed a jump shot that was rebounded by Mickell and he missed the layup. Wilmington would run down the clock and go on to win.

“We were trying to get a good shot at the rim and after the third option of the play, it came to the shot clock was coming down and we needed to take a shot,” Pearson said. “It’s unfortunate that nothing fell, but the mentality is to get a basket.”

The Setters men and women’s teams welcome their first NE-10 matchup with Le Moyne Saturday for a doubleheader.

“I have no doubt that we’ll be ready to go and give the right amount of effort,” Head Coach Matt Healing said. “Le Moyne’s a good team and well coached. We’ll be ready to go and we’ll see what happens.”