WC men rally to beat Olivet 69-67

OLIVET, Mich. — The Wilmington College men’s basketball team erased a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat Olivet College 69-67 in the Fightin’ Quakers’ final non-conference contest of 2019 Wednesday afternoon.

Wilmington scored baskets on its first two possessions on layups from Abdul Kanu and Colin Myers, but would go through a four-minute scoring drought. When an Aaron Mullins layup ended the drought, the Quakers found themselves down 14-6. That deficit would grow to nine points on a Shawn Pardee three-pointer at the 10:59 mark.

Neither team scored for two full minutes until five consecutive points from Myers made it 22-18. Three minutes later, a Kanu layup got Wilmington within three (27-24) at the 7:06 mark. Olivet (1-6) ended the half on a 13-6 run and took a 40-30 lead into the break.

Olivet’s lead wouldn’t grow past 10, however, as Wilmington opened the second half strong. A DaeShawn Jackson jumper at the 12:55 mark gave the Quakers their first lead (50-49) since the opening minute. From there, the lead changed hands seven times down the stretch. Neither squad led by more than a single possession until a Myers layup with 1:07 to play gave the visitors a 69-65 edge.

The Comets answered with a basket, getting back within a single possession with 34 seconds left. Despite only a four-second difference between the game and shot clock, Olivet elected to defend rather than foul. That plan worked as Jackson heaved up a triple to beat the shot clock buzzer, but the hosts couldn’t get a shot off in time.

The Quakers’ high-pressure defense grabbed 13 steals and forced 21 turnovers.

Jackson finished with 16 points to lead Wilmington in scoring while Kanu and Myers both added 14 points.

Shawn Pardee led all scorers with 28 points while Colin Carter had 15 to go along with nine rebounds.

Wilmington concludes the 2019 calendar year with a 4-6 record. The Quakers will open the 2020 calendar year against nationally-ranked Marietta College at Hermann Court Jan. 4.