Friday, December 31, 2010

UWF Holds Off Wilmington, Wins 76-65

PENSACOLA, Fla. – The West Florida men’s basketball team will go into the new year with a winning record after a 76-65 victory over Wilmington (Del.) in the final game of the McDonald Fleming Moorhead UWF Christmas Classic on Friday.  With the win, the Argonauts improved to 7-6 and went above .500 for the first time this season, while the Wildcats dropped below .500 at 5-6.

Tournament Most Valuable Player Mike Lewis (Upper Marlboro, Md./Eastern Kentucky) led the Argonauts with a game-high 18 points, highlighted by an 8-12 mark at the free throw line and seven at the line in the last minute.  Three others scored in double digits for UWF, including senior and all-tournament team selection Darryl McGhee (Defuniak Springs, Fla./Gulf Coast CC) with 13 points on 6-7 shooting.

Along with McGhee, sophomore Terrance Beasley (Pensacola, Fla./Tulane) was another spark off the bench, finishing with 13 points and two blocked shots.  Junior Marquis Mathis (Columbus, Ohio/Cincinnati State CC) also finished the night in double digits, scoring 12 points with five rebounds.

The Argos jumped out to a huge lead in the first half, going up by as many as 17 points.  A basket by sophomore Keldric White (Pensacola, Fla./Louisiana) on UWF’s final possession put the Argos ahead 37-22 going into halftime.  West Florida was 17-32 from the floor in the first half, led by Mathis who scored nine first half points on 4-6 shooting.

The Wildcats cut West Florida’s lead to just five points on a 13-3 run in the second half’s first five minutes.  The Argos fought back with a short 7-2 run to go back up by 10, but Wilmington kept fighting and eventually tied the game on a pair of free throws by Ed Freeman with 6:45 left in the game.  UWF quickly took the lead back on a three-pointer by Lewis, but Wilmington stayed within striking distance.

With his team down by six with less than two minutes to go, Wilmington’s Herbert Dennis hit a jumper to make the score 67-63.  On UWF’s next possession, junior Jamel Brazeal (Mobile, Ala./Faulkner State CC) drew a foul and went to the line, making both free throws to again put the Argos ahead by six.  On the Wildcats’ next three possessions, they had two missed shots and one turnover, missing opportunities to get back into the game.  Lewis was then fouled four times in the last minute of play, and he converted on 7-8 attempts to help clinch UWF’s 76-65 win.

The Argos kept up their hot shooting with a field goal percentage of 51.8, marking the fifth time in six games the team has shot over 50 percent.  UWF also won the rebound battle 42-38, led by junior Jamar Moore (Coolidge, Ga./Faulkner State CC) with nine.

Corye Payton finished the night with 13 points off the bench for Wilmington, leading to an all-tournament team selection.  Matthew King also had a strong game with 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds.

West Florida will head on the road on Tuesday, Jan. 4 for a visit to No. 9 Montevallo.  The Argos faced the Falcons once earlier this season, falling 67-50 on the road.  Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m., and fans can listen to all the action live at

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