'Cats hold on for Saturday win

'Cats hold on for Saturday win

The Wildcats took on Northern New Mexico College on Saturday afternoon in a conference game to close out their regular season.

The 'Cats began the game on a 7-2 run through the first three minutes of action as they looked to set the tone early. The Eagles regrouped and rallied to tie the game 10-10 with 12:39 left to play in the first half. JWU again built up a lead over the next two minutes, going up 19-10 on the Eagles. Northern New Mexico found a late push and brought the game to within three with 6:29 left. The back and forth continued with the Eagles tying the contest 40-40 at 2:24. Johnson & Wales closed out the half on an 8-2 run to take a 48-42 lead into the break.

The second half saw Johnson & Wales maintain their late first half momentum and held a 12 point advantage after a three pointer by Aaron Stone (Elizabeth, Colo.) at 16:11. The Eagles cut into the lead but the Wildcats again pushed the score back up. The Eagles started to shoot a hurried pace down the stretch and would immediately foul JWU to force them to score from the charity stripe. The plan worked as the Eagles cut an 11 point deficit down to two points over a minute and a half.

The Eagles tried over the final 24 seconds but Johnson & Wales got the stops they needed to take the 91-89 victory. Andrew Romero III (Northglenn, Colo.) scored a game high 28 points and had nine rebounds. Romero also dished out five assists. Jontrell Herman (Duck Hill, Miss.) put up 23 points for JWU and collected four assists. Bryce Simmons led NNMC with 19 points and Hasan Tucker had eight rebounds.

The Wildcats must now wait until Monday to find out if they've qualified for the 2017 A.I.I. Basketball Championships in Point Lookout, Missouri later this month.