NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The Wilmington College men’s basketball team built a 10-point, halftime lead and never trailed in the second half of a 65-61 victory over Averett University (Virginia) in a game at Christopher Newport University Thursday afternoon.
Abdul Kanu led Wilmington with 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting with five rebounds while Bryce Bird and Collin Barker both had 11 points off the bench. Gavin Heimlich chipped in seven points and grabbed seven rebounds.
The Quakers (4-6) will face host CNU 5 p.m. today.
Averett, which made the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament a season ago, took a 6-2 lead early on a dunk from Jason Sellars II, but Wilmington clamped down defensively. The Cougars, who scored six points in less than four minutes, averaged just a point a minute over the next 10. During that stretch, the Quakers scored 18 points and opened an eight-point advantage when an Obed Achirem layup at the 9:18 mark made the score 18-10.
A Raja Milton long-distance bomb a couple of minutes later got the Cougars back within four (20-16), but Barker answered with a three-pointer, one of three in the first half for the Wilmington High School graduate. Wilmington, which would lead by as many as a dozen (30-18), took a 34-24 margin into halftime.
Kanu opened the second half with an old-fashioned, three-point play for a 37-24 lead for the Quakers. Though that would be Wilmington’s largest lead of the game, Averett never managed to climb out of the deficit. The Cougars had two chances to cut a four-point deficit (43-39) midway through the half, but failed to do so. With less than three minutes to play, Sellars II made 1-of-2 at the free throw line to pull his team within three (57-54). Neither team scored on their next two possessions, however, and a Heimlich layup forced Averett to foul for the final minute. Wilmington hit its free throws to snap a five-game losing streak.