This past Saturday, the University of Mary Washington men’s basketball team traveled to Delaware and faced off against Capital Athletic Conference rival Wesley College. The host Wolverines edged the visiting Eagles 106-97 at Wentworth gymnasium.
With the loss, UMW fell to 5-2 in CAC play and 11-4 overall. The win moved Wesley to 6-1 in conference action and 10-6 overall.
The first half was tightly contested. After closely trailing most of the opening frame, Mary Washington knotted up the score at 42 apiece with 1:10 to play before halftime. But Wesley closed out that final 1:10 on an 8-0 run to take a 50-42 advantage at intermission.
The start of the second half was rough for the UMW offense, as the team shot just 6-19 (31.6 percent) in the first 11 minutes of action following halftime. The Wolverines took advantage of the Eagles offensive woes to push their lead up to 17 points, a 76-59 advantage.
Despite the daunting deficit, Mary Washington wouldn’t go away quietly, as they clawed their way back in the game as the half continued. With just over two minutes left in the game, a Dickman layup cut the Wolverines lead to 92-89. However, the Eagles could not inch any closer, and fabulous late foul shooting from Wesley (10-12 down the stretch) secured the Wolverines nine-point victory.
“We fought hard to the finish, and pulled back within one possession, but we couldn’t find the stop we needed,” junior forward Tad Dickman said.
Dickman was the man of the night for UMW, as he scored a career-high 32 points and also gathered 11 rebounds for the Eagles in the defeat. Dickman shot 10-14 from the floor, was 2-4 on three pointers and made 10 free throws.
“This was one of the best games of my life,” Dickman said. “I got in a groove and got comfortable on the court.”
“Tad really stepped up this game,” junior teammate Ryan Henderson added. “He was unstoppable offensively and was active on the boards.”
Though Dickman was stellar, UMW shot just 44 percent from the floor as a team and struggled from the free throw line, connecting on just 16-28 attempts (57 percent).
Aside from Dickman’s memorable performance, he received support from other Eagles’ players, as E.J. Willis, Bradley Reister, and Walt Smith all also scored in double figures.
“My teammates were giving me great looks, and I was getting a lot of easy baskets at the hoop. Walt dished out seven assists, E.J. brought a lot of energy to the team, Brad and Ryan hit some big shots during the game,” Dickman said.
As for the loss at this point in the season, Dickman said that the team was not discouraged.
“We still haven’t played to our potential this season,” Dickman said. “We believe that it’s more important to play our best basketball in February, than early in the season, and we’re building our way towards that.”
The UMW men squared off in another conference road game against Hood College last night, but the game concluded too late for results to be listed in this issue. The Eagles next game will be at home on Saturday against Frostburg State at 4 p.m.