February 27, 2013

File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
• Boxscore

Athlete photoHEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Jarvis Threatt (at right) scored five crucial points down the stretch while Kyle Anderson converted a putback with five seconds left as the University of Delaware men’s basketball team hung on for a hard-fought 57-56 win at Colonial Athletic Association foe Hofstra Wednesday night at the Mack Sports Complex.

The Blue Hens, who won their third straight game and their ninth of the last 11 contests, improved to 17-13 overall and 12-5 in the league. Delaware, which has tied last year’s squad for the most conference wins since joining the league, will be the second seed in next weekend’s CAA Tournament. The Blue Hens, who have never been seeded higher than fifth, will again take on seventh-seeded Hofstra in the quarterfinals on Saturday, March 9 at 6 p.m. at the Richmond Coliseum.

Delaware, which won for the 11th time in 13 CAA road games, led 55-53 with 41.1 seconds left following two free throws by Hofstra’s David Imes. After running the shot clock down, UD junior Devon Saddler missed a baseline jumper, but Anderson was there on the weak side to grab the rebound and score on the putback with five seconds to go. Stevie Mejia hit a three-pointer for the Pride with 0.3 seconds left, but the Blue Hens then inbounded the ball to end the game.

Delaware has now played six consecutive games decided by two points or less, winning five of those contests. The Blue Hens also defeated the Pride for the fourth straight meeting.

Saddler led the way with 19 points for Delaware, reaching double figures for the 36th consecutive game and moving past Ken Luck into third place on the Blue Hen career scoring list. Threatt finished with 12 points, Anderson added 10, and Jamelle Hagins chipped in with eight points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. However UD senior Josh Brinkley sprained his right knee on the first possession of the game and did not return.

Hofstra, which dropped its 12th of the last 14 games, fell to 7-23 overall and 4-13 in conference action. Moussa Kane scored a career-high 18 points for the Pride, while Mejia added 16 points and Imes contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.

Both teams struggled from the field the entire night, with Delaware shooting just 30.9 percent while the Pride finished at 36.4 percent.

“We didn’t play well, but it’s the sign of a good team to find a way to win on the road,” said seventh-year Blue Hen head coach Monté Ross. “Our guys were tough tonight, and I’m really proud of the effort. We made just enough plays to win. Josh’s injury affects us emotionally since he’s done so much during his four years, and we just hope he can finish his career on the court.”

Delaware missed its first seven field goal attempts, but trailed just 5-2 at the 14:30 mark when Threatt converted a driving layup to put the Blue Hens on the board. After falling behind by 10 the Blue Hens scored seven straight points, but the Pride answered with 13 of the next 16 points to go up 25-12 at the 5:23 mark of the half.

Delaware was still down 13 two minutes later, and after a 7-0 Blue Hen run highlighted by five points from Saddler, Hofstra’s Jordan Allen hit one free throw in the final seconds to make it a 28-23 game at the half. The Blue Hens connected on just 7 of 31 shots from the field during the opening 20 minutes, but stayed in the game due to the Pride going just 10 of 33 from the field.

Taran Buie opened the second half with a jumper but the Blue Hens countered with seven consecutive points, knotting the contest at 30-30 on a pair of Saddler free throws with 12:55 remaining. Saddler hit two foul shots with 10:33 on the clock as UD took its first lead of the night, while a Larry Savage tip-in and a Saddler three-pointer gave the Blue Hens a 45-39 lead with 6:38 to play.

However the Pride answered right back with seven consecutive points of its own, taking a 46-45 lead on an Allen jumper at the 4:41 mark. Threatt then found Carl Baptiste for a three-point play to give the Blue Hens the lead, before Imes scored with 2:27 left to bring Hofstra even.

Threatt then buried a three-pointer off a Saddler feed, and after a Hofstra turnover, he converted a tough left-handed layup to put Delaware up 53-48 with 1:31 to play. Kane nailed two free throws with 1:06 left, and after Threatt and Baptiste each hit one of two free throws for UD, Imes drained a three-pointer to make it 55-53 with 41.1 seconds left. However Anderson converted his follow layup to put the game away.

Delaware closes out its regular season on Saturday when the Blue Hens host George Mason at 2 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center. Seniors Brinkley, Hagins and Will Townsville will be honored in a pregame ceremony prior to playing their final regular season game in Newark.