NEWARK, Del. -- Longtime rivals University of Delaware and Drexel University have faced each other 148 times on the basketball court over the last century.
Few of those games have been as thrilling as Thursday night's double overtime classic as the Blue Hen men pulled out a 73-71 Colonial Athletic Association victory at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Blue Hen freshman Terrell Rogers, who played just one minute in regulation before entering the game in overtime, hit three free throws in the final 1:24 and Jamelle Hagins clinched the win with another free throw with four seconds remaining to lift the Blue Hens to the win and a series sweep over the Dragons for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
Junior Devon Saddler (at right) poured in a career-high 31 points, Hagins (below left)added 14 points and 18 rebounds, including the 1,000th carom of his career, and Jarvis Threatt (bottom right) chipped in with 13 points and nine rebounds as the Hens (15-13, 10-5 CAA) won for the fourth time in the last five games and moved into a tie for second place in the CAA standings.
“In tight games, we need to take care of the ball, get good shots, and limit our opponents to one shot, and we did that tonight,” said Delaware head coach Monté Ross, whose Blue Hens are now 76-72 all-time against Drexel dating back to the 1911-12 season. “Terrell really stepped up and hit some big free throws for us down the stretch. Our fans really spurred us on tonight and they made a huge impact in this game.”
Drexel (11-16, 7-8 CAA), which fought back from a seven-point deficit midway through the second half to send the game into overtime, got 25 points and a career-high 11 rebounds from guard Damion Lee while Derrick Thomas added 19 points and Frantz Massenat chipped in with 17 points and a game-high six assists.
Massenat had the chance to send the game into a third overtime period but his short jumper under duress in the lane was off the mark just before the final buzzer.
The teams combined to commit 50 fouls during the game, including 32 by Drexel. Four Dragon frontcourt players, Kazembe Abif, Daryl McCoy, Dartaye Ruffin, and Goran Pantovic all fouled out as did Delaware guard Kyle Anderson. Delaware knocked down 29 of 42 free throws, including 15 of 21 in the two overtime sessions, while Drexel was 15 of 21, including 7 of 8 accuracy in overtime.
Delaware, which was coming off a 72-71 last-second setback to James Madison Monday night, played is fourth straight game decided by two points or less, the first time in school history that has happened.
Saddler recorded his fourth career 30-point game, went over the 20-point mark for the sixth time in the last seven outings, and extended his double-figure scoring streak to 34 straight games, the second longest active streak in NCAA Division I.
Hagins recorded his 13th double-double of the season and reached the 1,000-rebound mark for his career early in the game, becoming just the seventh active NCAA Division I player to reach that rebounding plateau.
Delaware led by as much as eight points early in the second half and still led by seven at 45-38 with 9:37 remaining before the Dragons mounted their comeback. Drexel didn’t gain its first lead of the game until Lee knocked down a three-pointer with 3:41 left in regulation to give the Dragons a 49-48 lead.
Massenat later hit a three-pointer with 1:53 left in regulation to give Drexel a 52-48 lead, but Delaware fought back to send the game into overtime as Saddler connected on a jumper with 1:34 left and Hagins hit two free throws with 1:09 remaining to tie the game. Both teams had the chance to win the game late but the Dragons missed three shots in the final 42 seconds, including Massenat’s jumper with two seconds remaining.
Delaware jumped out to an early three-point lead in the first overtime period but Drexel’s Thomas converted a conventional three-point play to tie the game at 55-55 with 2:55 left. Hagins gave the Hens the lead again on a layup but Drexel’s Tavon Allen, who did not enter the game until the final minute of regulation, answered with a three-pointer for a Drexel lead. The lead changed hands twice before a Saddler free throw with 39 seconds left tied the game at 60-60.
Drexel had the chance to win the game during the first overtime session but Allen’s three-pointer from the right corner with nine seconds left misfired. Threatt got the rebound and rushed up the court but his heave from just inside the halfcourt line was off the mark at the buzzer.
The second extra session featured six lead changes and five ties before the Hens came out the winner. Saddler’s layup with 1:58 left gave the Hens a 69-67 lead but Thomas came back with two free throws with 1:43 left to knot the score at 69-69.
Rogers hit one of two free throws with 1:24 left to give the Hens the lead at 70-69 but Thomas answered with a jumper at the 50-second mark to push the margin back in Drexel’s favor at 71-70.
Rogers then knocked down two free throws 17 seconds later to give the Hens the lead for good at 72-71. Lee, who was held to just three points in overtime, misfired on a deep three-pointer with eight seconds left with Hagins pulling down his game-high 18th rebound of the night. Hagins was fouled on the play and hit one of two free throws with four seconds left to give Delaware a 73-71 lead.
Drexel had one last chance to tie it again but Massenat’s jumper in traffic wouldn’t fall as Hagins altered the shot and the ball bounced away as time expired.
Delaware returns to action this Saturday when the Blue Hens travel to Wilmington, NC to take on UNCW at 7 p.m. at the Trask Coliseum.