The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) Men’s basketball team surrendered the lead late to the Wildcats of Wiley University in a 62-57 loss Thursday night at the Elridge Blake Sports and Fitness Center.
In a matchup that was a tale of two halves, UVI (3-13, 1-9 GCAC) controlled the game from the tip as they jumped out to a commanding 21-8 lead early in the first half. The Buccaneers’ first-half success was attributed to the stifling defense they displayed, holding their opponents to just 14 first-half points on 21.1% shooting from the field and zero shots made from behind the arc. They were also able to force 12 turnovers in the period.
Maurice Smith, Jr. got off to a hot start to lead his team in the first half, going 4-for-5 from the field. The graduate forward’s 13 points in the period carried UVI into halftime ahead 29-14, which would be their largest lead of the night.
UVI got off to a good start coming out of the break but struggled to keep the momentum going as they slowly saw their lead wither away. Wiley was able to erase the 15-point deficit as they tied the game at 49 with 4:23 remaining on the clock. The Wildcats took the lead with 3:32 left and would escape with the 62-57 victory.
Jalil Langston led the Buccaneers offensively with 17 points.
Smith, Jr. finished the game with 16 points and nine rebounds, just shy of his seventh double-double on the season.
For the Wildcats, Delor Johnson recorded 22 points.
The Buccaneers will close out their homestand on “High School Day” as the team plays host to Philander Smith University from Little Rock, Arkansas at the Sports and Fitness Center on Saturday, February 3. All local high school students are invited to experience the college atmosphere at UVI. Tip-Off is at 6 p.m. AST.
About UVI Athletics
The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and, as of July 1, 2023, competes in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). Entering the 2023-24 season, the Buccaneers will begin their 17th season of athletic competition. As the only Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in the Caribbean, UVI currently sponsors six sports, including men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field. For more information on UVI Athletics, visit UVIAthletics.com.