Valiant Effort Falls Just Short as University of Delaware Men’s Basketball Drops 84-80 Thriller at Villanova
VILLANOVA, Pa. -- The University of Delaware men’s basketball team battled Big East opponent Villanova even through 37 minutes, but a late seven-point Wildcats run gave Villanova a hard-fought 84-80 victory over the Blue Hens Friday night at The Pavilion.
Delaware, which had its two-game winning streak snapped while falling to 2-3 on the year, trailed 74-65 with 5:45 remaining before roaring back. Following a Jarvis Threatt three-pointer, the Wildcats’ Daniel Ochefu converted a layup to put Villanova up eight with 4:26 on the clock. But after Kyle Anderson drained a three-pointer, Davon Usher scored inside and then buried a deep triple of his own to knot the contest at 76-76 with 3:02 left.
However the Wildcats, who improved to 4-0 on the year, took control with the pivotal 7-0 spurt. JayVaughn Pinkston opened the run with a three-point play, and after two Ryan Arcidiacono free throws, Pinkston added two foul shots to make it an 83-76 game with 37 seconds to play. Threatt scored a layup for the Blue Hens to end the spurt, but Delaware would not seriously threaten from there.
The Blue Hens, utilizing a six-man rotation, got another big effort from Usher, as the senior scored a game-high 27 points while going 5 of 10 from three-point range. Anderson (at left) contributed 17 points including four triples, while Threatt (at right) added 16 points and dished out a career-best eight assists for the third consecutive game. Carl Baptiste was the fourth UD player in double figures with 13 points, while he paced the squad with eight rebounds.
JayVaughn Pinkston scored a season-high 26 points including a 10 of 11 performance from the line to lead the Wildcats, who are receiving votes in both of the national Top 25 polls this week .James Bell contributed 16 points, while Darrun Hilliard added 15 and Arcidiacono chipped in 14. Ochefu collected a game-high 11 rebounds as the Wildcats held a 45-32 edge on the boards, leading to a 22-9 advantage in second chance points.
“We have a tough group of guys, and they have a significant amount of confidence regardless of who we are playing,” said eighth-year Blue Hen head coach Monté Ross. “We wanted to have a chance with under four minutes left and we accomplished that, but we just couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch. This was another step for our program; we got better tonight, we just have to keep raising the bar.”
Delaware connected on six of its first 10 shots from the field and took an early 12-6 lead over the Wildcats 4:12 into the contest. However Villanova quickly answered with six straight points, and regained the lead at 19-18 on a jumper by Arcidiacono.
The Wildcats later used a 9-0 run to go up eight, but the Blue Hens countered with 12 consecutive points of their own to go in front 34-30 on a Devonne Pinkard three-pointer. Bell ended the spurt with a jumper for the Wildcats, but Threatt and Baptiste answered with buckets at the other end to put Delaware up 38-32 at the 4:19 mark. However Villanova closed the half with an 11-2 surge of its own, as a Bell triple put the Wildcats up 43-40 at the break.
After falling behind by four points early in the second period, the Blue Hens battled back to take a 52-49 lead at the 15:52 mark following a four-point play by Usher.
Delaware led 54-50 after a Threatt jumper, but the Wildcats used an 8-0 run to go back in front 58-54 on a three-point play by Josh Hart.
The Blue Hens responded to knot the contest at 60-60, before Villanova countered with a 6-0 run to take a 66-60 advantage and force a UD time out with 8:38 to play.
The lead grew to as much as nine but Delaware would not go away, exploding for the 11-2 run that pulled the Blue Hens even with three minutes to play. However the Wildcats answered with the 7-0 spurt of their own to take the lead for good.
• Delaware fell to 0-12 against Villanova, including losses in each of the last five years
• Tonight’s four-point contest was the closest in series history
• Threatt is averaging 21.3 points and 8.0 assists over his last three games
• Baptiste and Anderson each reached double figures for the fourth straight game
• Delaware limited the Wildcats to just 5 of 25 shooting from behind the arc