Delaware Hangs On Late, Remains Unbeaten in CAA with 74-70 Victory at Northeastern
BOSTON, Mass. -- The University of Delaware men’s basketball team took the lead for good with a late eight-point run and hung on down the stretch as the Blue Hens remained unbeaten in Colonial Athletic Association play with a hard-fought 74-70 victory over Northeastern Saturday afternoon at Matthews Arena.
Delaware extended its winning streak to six consecutive games, improving to 12-7 overall and 4-0 in league play. The Blue Hens have opened conference action with four straight wins for the second time since joining the CAA, along with the 2007-08 squad which began with five straight league victories.
UD got another big game from senior Devon Saddler, who surpassed the 20-point mark for the fifth straight game by pouring in 22 points on the afternoon. Saddler also played point guard in the absence of Jarvis Threatt who did not travel with the team, and finished with a season-best eight assists while playing all 40 minutes.
Senior forward Carl Baptiste scored a career-high 19 points for the Blue Hens, and he hit all nine of his attempts from the field. Baptiste also led the squad with 11 rebounds to post his third career double-double, and blocked four shots including a key swat in the final seconds. Davon Usher was the third Blue Hen in double figures with 17 points, while Kyle Anderson contributed nine on three triples.
The Blue Hens went 28 of 50 from the field, as their 56.0 field goal percentage was the team’s highest of the season.
David Walker scored a career-high 20 points for Northeastern, which dropped to 5-14 overall and 2-3 in the conference. Zach Stahl recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and a career-best 11 boards, while Scott Eatherton chipped in with 15 points and nine rebounds.
The teams were knotted at 61-61 with four minutes to play, and following a lengthy timeout due to a malfunctioning shot clock, Blue Hen freshman Devonne Pinkard gave Delaware the lead for good by knocking down a three-pointer from the right corner. Saddler then hit one of two from the line, and after a Huskies miss, Anderson buried a deep three-pointer to make it a 68-61 game with 1:18 to play.
Northeastern would not quit, pulling within 69-68 with 18 seconds to play on a Stahl layup. But Usher hit a pair from the foul line to make it a three-point game, while Baptiste blocked a layup by Stahl at the other end with five seconds to play. Saddler grabbed the rebound and was fouled, and hit one from the stripe to put Delaware up four.
Walker answered with a bank shot while getting fouled to make it a 72-70 game with 1.4 seconds on the clock, but his ensuing free throw attempt did not hit the rim. Saddler then added another two free throws to finally seal the victory.
“I’m really proud of our guys to be able to hang on and come out with a victory at a very tough place to play,” said eighth-year Blue Hen head coach Monté Ross. “I thought the difference was our defense; we got going offensively in the second half, and our defense was able to put our stamp on the game. Carl (Baptiste) is very skilled inside and has been a force for us throughout the season. Our guys did a great job of getting him opportunities today, and credit to him for putting the ball in the basket.”
Delaware trailed 5-4 early on but used an 8-0 run, including three baskets by Baptiste, to take a 12-5 lead five and a half minutes into the contest. The Blue Hens led for the next seven minutes, until a three-point play by Eatherton gave the Huskies a 21-19 advantage at the 7:15 mark. Later in the period Northeastern broke a tie with five straight points, before a driving layup by Saddler in the final seconds cut the Blue Hens’ deficit to 30-27 at the break.
After the teams traded buckets early in the second half, Usher scored inside to put the Blue Hens back in front 37-36 with 16 minutes to play. Delaware led by as many as five points, but two free throws by Northeastern’s T.J. Williams knotted the game at 48-48 with 10-49 left. The teams took turns taking the lead before an Anderson three-pointer gave Delaware a 57-55 advantage at the 7:56 mark, and after the squads were still even at 61-61, the Blue Hens went on their decisive 8-0 run.
• Delaware won at Matthews Arena for the second straight year
• The Blue Hens captured their second consecutive road game
• Delaware has trailed at the half during all four CAA games
• UD committed just six turnovers on the day
• Oscar Jones and Alex Coles share the UD single game record as both players went 10 of 10 from the field
• Delaware heads to Drexel on Monday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Network