WILMINGTON, Del. – The University of the Sciences men's basketball team used a dominant ending to the first half to remain unbeaten in Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) play with a 83-58 victory at Wilmington on Saturday afternoon.
The 83 points, as well as its 49.2 field goal percentage (31-of-63) and five 3-pointers, were USciences' second-highest totals of the season.
The Devils (8-4, 4-0 CACC) also outrebounded Wilmington 51-31 and were dominant in the paint, where they outscored the Wildcats 36-14.
University of the Sciences also blocked a season-best four shots and held Wilmington to just 30.0 percent shooting (18-of-60).
Freshman Brandon Starr led the way with a career-high 19 points in 19 minutes off the bench. The freshman made 6-of-11 field goals, 3-of-5 3-pointers and a perfect 4-of-4 free throws, while also adding career-bests of four rebounds and a game-high five assists.
Flo Da-Silva also had 19 points and collected 10 rebounds for his third double-double in four games. He made 8-of-12 from the field and also had six steals – one shy of a career-best - and five assists.
Brendan Crawford was right behind them with 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting.
JJ Melchior tied his career-high with 14 points in his first start of the season, while his six rebounds and two blocks were new career-bests.
Will Gregorits recorded his sixth double-digit rebounding performance of the season with a game-high 13 to become the 13th Devil in program history to surpass 700 for his career. He fell one point shy of his sixth double-double of the season.
The game was played within a single possession for the first 12:05. With the score deadlocked at 15, Starr made a 3-pointer at the 8:56 mark before Crawford nailed a jumper just 1:01 later for the first two-possession lead of the afternoon.
University of the Sciences was not done there as Starr and Crawford each made another basket before Da-Silva gave the Devils their first double-digit lead, 26-15, with 6:03 showing.
Crawford then made yet another jumper before Melchoir put an exclamation point on 14 unanswered with a free throw to make the score 29-15 with 4:41 to go in the first half.
A Wilmington (7-5, 2-1) 3-pointer did not halt USciences' momentum as this time the Devils scored nine straight behind Melchior, Starr and Da-Silva, capped by Da-Silva's layup with 1:11 remaining putting a stamp on a 23-3 run over a stretch of 7:45.
Melchoir answered a Wilmington 3-pointer with one of his own 14 seconds ahead of the halftime buzzer and despite the Wildcats beating the buzzer with yet another trifecta, the Devils still held a 41-24 advantage heading into the locker room.
University of the Sciences made that lead stick as Wilmington did not get closer than 17 in the second half.
The Devils will ring in the New Year with another trip to Delaware on Wednesday, Jan. 3 for a 8 p.m. CACC tip at Goldey-Beacom.