Blue Hen Men's Basketball Holds Off Hofstra, 81-77, To Record 20th Win of Season
The Blue Hens improved to 20-8 overall and 12-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association, recording the seventh 20-win season in program history and the first since 2000-01. Delaware maintained its two-game lead over Towson in the conference standings, defeating Hofstra for the seventh consecutive meeting.
The win was the 110th for eighth-year Blue Hen head coach Monté Ross, moving him into a tie for second place on the UD career wins list along with Irv Wisniewski.
Davon Usher again led the way with 27 points, leading the Blue Hens in scoring for the fifth straight game. Saddler, who became Delaware’s career leader in free throws made and surpassed the 500-rebound mark, added 24 points on the night. Kyle Anderson contributed 18 points, his highest total since Dec. 30, while Carl Baptiste recorded his third consecutive double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Hofstra, which dropped to 8-20 overall and 4-9 in the conference, lost for the eighth time in nine games. Zeke Upshaw paced the Pride with 26 points, while Dion Nesmith added 22 on the night.
The Blue Hens trailed by nine points at the break, but scored 49 second half points to overcome a halftime deficit for the eighth time this season, Anderson scored eight of Delaware’s first 10 second half points, while his triple from the left corner brought the Blue Hens within 46-42 with 16:40 to play.
Anderson later converted a driving layup to make it a one-point game, but Nesmith answered with the next eight Hofstra points as the Pride went back up eight at 59-51 at the 12-minute mark.
But Delaware would keep coming, as Saddler buried a three-pointer from the top of the key to again cut the Hofstra margin to a point before an Usher three-pointer knotted the contest at 65-65 with 7:42 remaining.
The Blue Hens went on top 71-68 on an Usher turnaround jumper, while a driving layup by Saddler put Delaware in front 75-73 with 2:25 to play. Upshaw quickly brought Hofstra even with a jumper, and the game remained tied until Saddler followed his own blocked shot with a layup to put UD up for good with 47 seconds left.
The Pride then missed a pair of three-pointers, before Nesmith’s driving layup was off the mark and Anderson grabbed the rebound while getting fouled. The Blue Hen junior then drilled a pair of free throws at the other end, and Delaware held on from there to win for the 16th time in 19 CAA road games.
“We have a group that doesn’t give up and knows what it takes to come back,” said Blue Hen head coach Monté Ross. “Hofstra was making some tough, contested shots in the first half, and I thought we were OK going into halftime just down nine. Kyle (Anderson) is a confident kid, and we have a lot of confidence in him.”
Delaware misfired on its first eight shots from the field while Hofstra’s early lead grew to 15-3 following a Jamall Robinson three-pointer, forcing a Blue Hen time out at the 13:09 mark.
Two Usher buckets cut the margin to 23-13 but Hofstra, which connected on six of its first nine three-point attempts, went back up 13 on a Chris Jenkins triple with four minutes to play in the period. The Pride led by as many as 15 points before Delaware countered with seven straight points, while a late free throw by Jordan Allen gave the Pride a 41-32 lead at the break.