The Wildcats dug deep to secure a wild 81-77 overtime win over host Ave Maria University on Saturday afternoon. It is the second conference win for the Wildcats who are now 8-5 on the season.
JWU jumped on top of the Gyrenes going up 12-3 after a basket by Sr. Ralph Nin (Miami FL) and back to back threes by So Gino Fils Aime (Miami FL). However, Ave Maria battled back to take a 20-19 lead. Both teams exchanged leads over the closing minutes of the half until the Wildcats took the lead on a dunk by Jr. Ricardo Suarez (Miami FL). JWU led 33-31 at the half with Nin leading the way with 8 points.
AMU took the lead 44-39 early in the 2nd half after a three pointer by Brandon Dean. The Wildcats answered that three with one their own by Sr. Antwan Hill as the shot clock buzzer sounded to cut the lead to 44-42. That is when Suarez started to heat up as he led a charge by the Wildcats that gave them a 64-56 lead. Hill added some big baskets in the run as well. Once again the Gyrenes stormed back. With JWU holding slim 66-65 lead with just under a minute left Exor Torres of AMU hit a three-point bomb to put them ahead 68-66. The Wildcats called a timeout and Suarez was fouled driving to the basket with 33.1. The junior calmly sank his free throws. JWU got a big defensive stop to send the game into overtime.
Nin scored the first two baskets of overtime to give the Wildcats a 74-70 advantage. With JWU leading 76-74 with just over a minute remaining AMU hit a three to go up 77-76. JWU called timeout and got Suarez the ball who dished off to Nin for a basket and the foul. Nin hit the free throw to put JWU ahead 79-77. The Wildcats got another huge defensive stop and Suarez was fouled after securing the rebound. He sank the free throws to ice the victory.
Suarez led JWU with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 5 steals. Nin had 17 points while Hill chipped in with 14 points and 6 rebounds.
JWU is back on the road on Wednesday January 13 vs Webber.