Kendall Anthony's Two Free Throws in Final Seconds Give Richmond 71-69 Victory Over Delaware in Season-Opening Thriller
The Blue Hens (0-1) trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half, and were still down six with 2:46 remaining. But Delaware rallied, as Jarvis Threatt drained three free throws before Davon Usher buried a three-pointer from the right wing to pull the Blue Hens even with 1:18 to go.
Usher then made a steal at the other end, and following a UD timeout, Threatt was fouled on a drive to the basket with :30.2 to play. However Threatt missed a pair from the foul line, giving the Spiders (1-0) a final chance. Following a loose ball out of bounds with 2.3 seconds on the clock, UD guard Kyle Anderson was called for a holding foul.
Anthony then buried both foul shots, while Devon Saddler’s three-pointer from just past half court bounced off the back rim.
Saddler, a first team Preseason All-CAA selection, led the Blue Hens with 17 points while Threatt, a second team preseason pick, added 14 points and hit 12 foul shots. Usher, a Mississippi Valley State transfer making his Blue Hen debut, posted a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Cedrick Lindsay paced Richmond with 20 points, while Alonzo Nelson-Ododa added 13 and Terry Allen contributed 11 for the Spiders.
Delaware nearly pulled out the victory despite shooting just 4 of 21 from three-point line, although the Blue Hens did connect on 27 of 37 free throws. Richmond was also off the mark from deep, as UD limited the Spiders to a 3 of 19 performance from behind the arc.
“Jarvis has proven time and time again that he’s the guy we want at the free throw line, and he’s iced many games for us from the line,” said eighth-year Blue Hen head coach Monté Ross. “We did a good job of drawing fouls all night, but when you’re on the road you have to make teams pay. If we do what we need to do from the line earlier, it doesn’t come down to the end. We are an experienced group, and it says a lot about our team to come back twice in the second half.”
Delaware used an early 9-1 run to take a 13-9 lead in the first half, and the game remained tight throughout the rest of the period before Richmond took a slim 32-31 edge into the break.
An Anderson three-pointer brought Delaware within a pair early in the second half, but Richmond quickly ran off seven consecutive points to go in front 45-36 and force a Blue Hen timeout with 17:03 remaining.
Delaware responded to hold the Spiders without a field goal for three and a half minutes but the Blue Hens went cold offensively themselves, as five straight Richmond points extended the lead back to double digits at 53-42 at the 11:12 mark following a Lindsay runner in the paint.
UD would not go away, as Usher converted a layup and then found Saddler inside to cap a 6-0 spurt and make it a 55-50 contest with 8:06 to play. The Blue Hens kept coming, as an Anderson three-pointer and a Saddler bucket put Delaware in front 61-59 with 5:08 on the clock.
The Blue Hens were again up two a half minute later, but Allen scored inside before Anthony drilled a three-pointer to put Richmond back on top, 66-63, at the 3:45 mark.
The Spiders’ Derrick Williams added a free throw and a layup to increase the lead to six before the Blue Hens countered with six straight points to tie the contest, setting up the dramatic finish.
• Delaware has lost eight straight season openers
• Marvin King-Davis went 8 of 8 from the foul line while tying his career-high with eight points
• Saddler needs 13 points to reach 1,700 for his career
• Richmond has won 14 straight season openers
• The Spiders held a 41-35 rebounding advantage
• The game marked the teams’ first meeting since 1995
• Delaware plays its home opener Sunday vs. Charleston Southern at 2 p.m.