TOWSON,MD (WWAY) — Count senior playmaker Chad Tomko atop a list of several heroes as UNCW engineered one of the biggest comebacks in school history on Saturday, roaring back from a 22-point deficit in the second half to force overtime and claim a 95-93 victory over Towson in a wild Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball contest at the Towson Center.
The Seahawks, who trailed 42-27 at halftime and 58-36 with just over 14 minutes left, stunned the Tigers to complete a sweep of the regular season series. UNCW improved to 12-14 overall and 6-9 in the CAA with the scintillating win.
Towson lost for the 14th straight time and remained winless in the CAA at 0-15. Pat Kennedy’s club now stands 4-21 on the season.
Tomko poured in 25 of his 31 points in the second half and overtime to fuel UNCW’s impressive comeback. Backcourt mate Ahmad Grant added 24 points and sophomore center Matt Wilson poured in a career-high 19 points.
Sophomore forward Isaiah Philmore led all scorers in the contest with a career-high 33 points on 12-for-19 shooting from the field and 9-for-12 at the free throw line. Brian Morris added 22 points and Josh Brown chipped in 15.
The Seahawks got off to a sluggish start, making just five of their first 18 field goal attempts, to dig a deep hole before mounting a comeback for the ages. UNCW dropped behind by 22 points and still trailed, 64-44, with 13 minutes left before making its move.
Behind 64-44, Grant keyed a 12-0 run as part of a 19-4 spurt to help the Seahawks close the deficit to 68-63. The Peoria, Ill., product scored eight points in the run and a triple by Tomko closed the gap to six points with 5:38 on the clock.
UNCW grabbed its first lead since 16:16 of the first half with 1:08 left in regulation on Wilson’s tip-in that gave the Seahawks a 77-76 edge. However, Philmore scored in the paint with 38 seconds left for a 78-77 advantage and Grant made the first of two free throws with 12 seconds left to tie the game at 78-all. An off balance jumper by Philmore with one second remaining was off the mark, vaulting the game into overtime.
It didn’t look good in the extra period when Morris drained a long three with 1:32 remaining to give the Tigers an 87-84 lead. But Tomko poured in UNCW’s last 11 points, including nine in a row, to help the Seahawks break away, 93-87, with just 23 seconds left. Towson was in a catch up mode the rest of the way and couldn’t get over the hump, leaving the 1,525 Tiger faithful in stunned silence.
After Tomko converted a shot from the right elbow and a layup to give the Seahawks a 7-6 edge with 16:16 left in the first half, the Tigers used a 17-3 run to break away early for a working margin.
While UNCW was struggling from the field, Philmore and RaShawn Polk provided a spark. Philmore scored seven points in the spurt and Polk added a pair of long triples as TU jumped out to a 23-10 cushion. The Seahawks went nearly three minutes without buckets twice during the run by the Tigers.
Pat Kennedy’s club eventually built its largest lead of the half, 33-14, when Philmore made a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 19 points with 6:38 remaining. Philmore wound up connecting on 6-of-9 attempts en route to 15 points at intermission.
The Seahawks return to Wilmington to play their next three games at Trask Coliseum, beginning with a 7 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 15) date against Drexel. The Tigers play host to James Madison on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
GAME NOTES: The game was produced by Comcast SportsNet as part of the CAA’s television package…Keith Rendleman, who had a double double by halftime in the first matchup, had two points and two boards at intermission on Saturday…UNCW shot 55.9 percent from the field and went 20-for-25 at the free throw line…The Tigers shot 50 percent…UNCW outscored TU, 51-36, in the second half…UNCW now leads the series, 16-9, and evened its record at the Towson Center at 6-6…Buzz Peterson used his seventh different lineup and sixth different lineup in as many games…Tomko ended up with 31 points, five rebounds and six assists in 40 minutes…The Seahawks had just 10 turnovers in the contest…UNCW improved to 2-3 in overtime games this season.
article courtesy UNCW Sports Information