Blue Hens Use Big Second Half Effort To Post 77-64 Comeback Victory Over Liberty
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware made up for a rough opening half by dominating the final 20 minutes and cruising to a 77-64 men’s basketball victory over Liberty in a New Year’s Day matchup Wednesday afternoon at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Delaware, playing at home for the first time since Nov. 30, shot 67 percent from the field in the second stanza while outscoring the Flames by a 52-31margin on the way to the victory.
The Hens, who evened their record to 7-7, won for just the second time in their last six games since early December.
Jarvis Threatt (at right) led four Delaware scorers in double figures with 19 points while Kyle Anderson dropped in 14 points and Davon Usher and Devon Saddler (below left) each contributed all 13 of their points in the second half.
Carl Baptiste led the Blue Hens with eight rebounds to go with six points.
Liberty (6-8), which entered the contest having won five of its last seven games, remained winless on the road this season at 0-6.
Tomasz Gielo led Liberty with a season-high16 points and seven rebounds while John Caleb Sanders pitched in with 11 points and JR Coronado pulled down a game and season-high 12 rebounds as the Flames outrebounded the Hens 42-33.
Delaware hit just 10 of 33 shots from the field in the first half and trailed 33-25 at the break despite committing just one turnover. Saddler and Usher, Delaware’s top two leading scorers, were held scoreless over the first 20 minutes.
But it was a different story after halftime as Delaware knocked down 16 of 24 shots from the field, including 5 of 12 shooting from beyond the arc, to take control. After hitting 14 of 29 shots from the field in the first half, Liberty managed to shoot just 29 percent (9 of 31) in the second stanza.
"I thought our defense in the second half was outstanding, probably our best so far this season," said Blue Hen head coach Monté Ross. "I'm really proud of the way our guys responded after halftime, to be able to score 52 points during the second half against that team is impressive. When we are sharing the ball and playing aggressive, we're a pretty good team."
After trailing 33-25 at the break, Delaware outscored Liberty 10-2 over the first four minutes of the second half to tie the game at 35-35.
The Flames regained the lead and held it for the next four minutes before the Hens took the lead on a dunk by Usher with 10:35 left to play.
The game was tied twice over the next two minutes before the Hens finally took control, breaking a 46-46 deadlock with a 12-1 run that put the game away. Devonne Pinkard and Usher each contributed three-pointers during the run to put the Hens up 58-47 with 7:11 left.
Liberty never got closer than nine points the rest of the day.
• Delaware will close out non-conference play on Saturday, Jan. 4 when the Hens host Cal Poly at 2 p.m. before hosting Hofstra for the Colonial Athletic Association opener Jan. 8
• Delaware and Liberty met for the first time in school history
• The game marked the first time in UD athletics history that a Blue Hen team competed on New Years Day
• Anderson knocked down three three-pointers to up his season total to 50, the sixth highest total in NCAA Division I
• Saddler, the No. 4 active leading scorer in NCAA Division I, went over 1,800 career points during the game
• Delaware finished the game with just seven turnovers, its second lowest total of the season