March 9, 2013
Photos Courtesy of the CAA/Scott Brown
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RICHMOND, Va. -- The University of Delaware men’s basketball survived and advanced Saturday at the Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals, holding off Hofstra, 62-57, at the Richmond Coliseum.
The second-seeded Blue Hens, who won their fifth straight game and 11th in their last 13 outings, did just enough as Delaware advanced to the CAA Semifinals for the first time since the 2003 season. The Blue Hens will face either third-seeded James Madison or sixth-seeded William & Mary Sunday in the second semifinal at 4:30 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network. Top-seeded Northeastern faces fourth-seeded George Mason in the first semifinal at 2 p.m.
Hofstra, the seventh seed in the tournament, ended its year with a 7-25 record.
Delaware, which defeated Hofstra for the fifth consecutive meeting including all three this year, shot just 40.0 percent from the field and only 4 of 12 from three-point range. But the Blue Hens pulled out the victory by holding the Pride to only 36.1 percent from the field. Hofstra, which was playing its first postseason game against Delaware since a victory over the Blue Hens in the 2001 America East Championship Game, also went just 7 of 16 from the foul line
Blue Hen junior guard Devon Saddler (at right), who set a school record by starting his 95th consecutive game, led all scorers with 22 points as he reached double figures for the 38th straight game. Senior forward Jamelle Hagins (at left) posted his 15th double-double of the season with 12 points and 15 rebounds, while Jarvis Threatt was the third Blue Hen in double figures with 12 points while adding a team-high four assists. Carl Baptiste did not score for Delaware but did grab 12 rebounds, his second highest total of the season.
Hofstra guards Taran Buie and Stevie Mejia each recorded 13 points and eight rebounds for the Pride, while David Imes chipped in with 12 points.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight, and it was,” said Blue Hen seventh-year head coach Monté Ross. “We were a little sluggish in the first half, but I thought our experience was the key. We didn’t panic, and the start of the second half was big for us. Obviously we’re happy to be moving on; we need to play better tomorrow and I assume we will.”
Neither team was able to get much going offensively during the first half, with both squads shooting under 40 percent. The lead never went above four in the opening 20 minutes, while a three-pointer by Imes in the final seconds gave the Pride a 27-24 advantage at the break.
The Blue Hens went just 10 of 26 from the field and connected on just three of eight free throws in the first half, but stayed in the contest by limiting Hofstra to 32.1 percent from the floor.
But Delaware quickly scored the first five points of the second half, going back in front on a Saddler jumper in the paint and forcing a Pride timeout with 18:34 remaining. The run grew to 7-0 on another Saddler leaner, before Jordan Allen scored Hofstra’s first bucket of the half at the 16:19 mark to pull the Pride back within two.
UD increased its lead to four following a Josh Brinkley layup, but Mejia answered with a triple for Hofstra ot make it a 37-36 game. But the Blue Hens would extend the margin to six at 44-38 on a Saddler three-pointer, while Terrell Rogers buried a triple of his own to make it a 53-43 game at the 6:53 mark.
Hofstra would not go away, using a quick seven-point spurt to pull within 53-50 with 5:09 to play when Allen scored inside. Threatt hit two free throws for the Blue Hens, and after Hofstra missed the front end of two consecutive one and one situations from the foul line, Saddler buried a three-pointer from the right wing to increase the lead to 58-50 with 3:03 left.
Hofstra closed to within 58-55 when Buie drained a three-pointer with 18 seconds left, but Threatt atoned for a missed dunk on the previous possession by hitting two free throws. Moussa Kone scored inside for the Pride with 1.3 seconds to play as the Pride again got within three, but Saddler iced the win with another two foul shots.