Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
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NEWARK, Del. -- Sophomore guard Jarvis Threatt (at right) scored 9 of his 20 points in the final 82 seconds of the game and the University of Delaware rallied back from a 10-point second half deficit to close out the regular season with an 82-77 Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball victory over George Mason Saturday afternoon at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Delaware sent its three seniors - Jamelle Hagins, Josh Brinkley, and Will Townsville - out in style as the Blue Hens won their fourth straight game and their 10th in the final 12 outings to head into the post-season on a high note.
“Our seniors have done so much for us, what better way to send them off than with a win,” said Delaware head coach Monté Ross. “That’s how you honor guys who have given so much to your program. We really imposed our will offensively and defensively over the last three minutes, and that was the key to pulling out the victory.”
The Blue Hens (18-13, 13-5 CAA), who already had clinched the No. 2 seed for next week's CAA Tournament in Richmond, Va., got a balanced effort as junior guard Devon Saddler, the CAA's leading scorer at 20.2 points per game, dropped in a game-high 22 points and dished out five assists, Threatt added 20 points, including 13 of 14 free throw shooting, Kyle Anderson came off the bench to add 17 points, and Hagins finished the day with 13 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocked shots.
Saddler (at left), who tied a school record by playing in his 94th straight career game, reached double figures for the 37th straight game over two seasons and put up 20 or more points for the 15th time this season.
Hagins recorded his 14th double-double of the season while Threatt reached double figures in scoring for the eighth straight game.
The Hens, who also downed George Mason 79-72 back on Feb. 9 in Fairfax, Va., swept the season series from the Patriots for the first time since joining the CAA in 2001-02. Delaware's 13 league wins is also its highest total since joining the CAA and the most since the 2000-1 squad won 14 games in advancing to the America East conference tournament final.
George Mason (17-13, 10-8 CAA), which had a four-game road win streak snapped, got a career-high 21 points off the bench from Marko Gujanicic, 20 points from guard Sherrod Wright, and 16 off the bench from Vertrail Vaughns.
A hard-fought first half featured 10 lead changes and seven ties as the teams hit intermission tied at 41-41. Delaware led by as many as seven points twice in the first half - at 23-16 with 9:31 left and at 35-28 with 4:10 remaining - but the Patriots fought back each time. Two free throws by Anderson knotted the score at the break.
A three-pointer by Anderson early in the second half gave the Hens a 48-43 lead, but Mason responded with a 17-4 run, fueled by eight points from Gujanicic and five from Vaughns, to take its biggest lead at 62-52 with 9:12 remaining.
But Delaware answered with a rally of its own as the Hens scored 10 of the next 12 points to pull to within 64-62 with 6:28 remaining and finally regained the lead when Anderson drained a big three with 1:58 left and Threatt knocked down two free throws at the 1:22 mark to tie the game at 74-74.
The rest of the afternoon belonged to Threatt, who knocked down a three-pointer with 39 seconds left, drained two free throws with 28 seconds remaining, and iced the victory with two more from the charity stripe with nine seconds left to play.
Delaware will begin CAA Tournament play March 9 when the No. 2 seed Hens take on No. 7 seed Hofstra at 6 p.m. in the quarterfinals at the Richmond (Va.) Coliseum.