Blue Hens Win CAA Opener in a Shootout as Backcourt Trio Leads Delaware to 86-79 Victory
NEWARK, Del. -- The Blue Hens backcourt trio of Devon Saddler, Jarvis Threatt, and Davon Usher combined for 63 points as the University of Delaware men's basketball squad won its Colonial Athletic Association opener with an 86-79 shootout victory over Hofstra at the Bob Carpenter Center Wednesday night.
Saddler (at left) came off the bench to score a game-high 24 points, including 17 in the second half, Threatt netted 20 points and reached the 1,000-point mark for his career, and Usher contributed 19 points of his own to pace Delaware (9-7) to its third straight win overall and its fourth straight home triumph.
The Hens, who also got 12 points and six rebounds from guard Kyle Anderson and nine points and six rebounds from center Carl Baptiste, downed the Pride for the sixth straight time. Delaware also won its CAA opener for the fourth straight year.
Hofstra (4-11, 0-1 CAA), which lost its third straight game and remained winless on the road this season at 0-6, got a productive night from the trio of Jordan Allen, Zeke Upshaw, and Dion Nesmith who combined for 55 points.
Upshaw led the way with 19 points while Allen and Upshaw contributed 18 points each with Allen’s marking a career-high. Stephen Nwaukoni scored eight points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds as the Pride held a 44-35 advantage on the boards.
Delaware overcame a 13-point deficit midway through the opening half, cut the Pride lead to 41-36 at the break, and finally gained the lead three minutes into the second half. A layup from Usher and a dunk after a steal by Threatt put the Hens up for good at 62-59 with 9:24 left to play.
“Our guys were a little nervous coming of the gate but knew we’d make a run,” said Delaware head coach Monté Ross, who earned his 99th career victory at UD to move into a tie for third place all-time with current Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey. “Our defensive intensity was where we needed it to be, but my angst lies in our performance down the stretch. We have to take care of the ball better. I’m proud of the way we stuck with it and pulled out the win.”
The Pride broke an 11-11 tie four minutes into the game by scoring 13 straight points to take a 24-11 advantage with 12:09 left. But the Hens got under control and pulled to within 41-36 at the break on a Saddler layup. The Hens opened the second half on a 10-2 run to take a 46-43 lead four minutes in.
Hofstra tied the game at 52-52 on a three-pointer by Nesmith with 13:10 left and lead changed hands four more times before Delaware took the lead for good at 60-59 on layup by Usher (at right) with 9:46 remaining.
The Hens went up by as many as 10 points at 75-65 following a Saddler three-pointer with 4:26 remaining, but the Pride refused to go away.
Hofstra pulled to within 80-76 on two free throws by Moussa Kone with 53 seconds left, but the Hens sank six straight free throws the rest of the way, including four by Threatt, to preserve the victory.
Threatt, who also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds and led the team with three steals, became just the 31st player in UD history to reach the 1,000-point mark when he knocked down a three-pointer with 8:35 left in the opening stanza.
Delaware will return to action Saturday when they head to James Madison for a 4 p.m. matchup in CAA action in Harrisonburg, Va.