February 9, 2013

File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
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Athlete photoFAIRFAX, Va. -- Sophomore guard Jarvis Threatt recorded his first career double-double while junior guard Devon Saddler scored a game-high 22 points as the University of Delaware men's basketball team recorded an impressive 79-72 victory at George Mason Saturday afternoon at the Patriot Center.

The Blue Hens bounced back from Wednesday’s 85-65 loss at Towson with a wire-to-wire victory over the Patriots, snapping a 10-game losing skid in Fairfax while improving to 12-12 overall and 7-4 in the Colonial Athletic Association. George Mason, which had a two-game winning streak halted, dropped to 14-10 overall and 7-5 in league play.

Threatt (at right) scored 20 points, one shy of his season-high, grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds, and dished out six assists as the Blue Hens won for the eighth time in their last 10 conference road games. Saddler added 22 points and eight boards, as he recorded his 30th consecutive double figure scoring game and passed Alex Coles to move into seventh place on the UD career scoring list. He surpassed the 20-point mark for the 10th time this season, including each of the last three contests.

Josh Brinkley contributed 17 points on 5 of 6 shooting from the field while Carl Baptiste chipped in with nine points, as both players tied their season-highs as well. The Blue Hens shot 56 percent during the second half, went 6 of 14 from the three-point line for the game, and connected on 25 of 30 free throw attempts.

Jonathan Arledge led the Patriots with 15 points and a career-high tying 11 rebounds to record his first double-double of the season, while Eric Copes also had a double-double with a career-high 13 points to go with 10 boards. Bryon Allen contributed 12 points and eight assists for Mason while Sherrod Wright was the fourth Patriot in double figures with 12 points, although he went just 4 of 16 from the field.

“It was a hard fought game featuring two quality teams battling back and forth,” said seventh year Delaware head coach Monté Ross. “It is a very difficult environment down here, and I’m ecstatic to get the victory. Our guys showed a lot of toughness today, and I’m extremely proud of them. Our defense allowed us to extend the margin, and we knocked down our free throws down the stretch to close the door.”

The Blue Hens opened strong from the field, taking a 12-6 lead on a Saddler three-pointer four minutes into the contest. A three-point play by Baptiste and a jumper by Threatt increased the margin to eight, and after a Mason basket, Kyle Anderson drained a three-pointer to make it a 25-16 game with 8:22 left in the first half.

That would be the Blue Hens’ last field goal of the period, as Delaware misfired on its final nine shots from the floor. However the Blue Hens stayed in front by going 8 of 8 from the foul line during that span, and carried a 33-29 edge into halftime over the Patriots.

Delaware heated up to start the second half, scoring on its first five possessions of the period to go in front 45-33 on a Brinkley jumper in the lane with 16:34 left. The Patriots closed to within five points but Jamelle Hagins converted a jump hook and Saddler buried a pair of free throws, while a Threatt fastbreak layup made it a 58-47 game with 10:35 left.

The lead grew to 66-53 when Saddler knocked down a long jumper from the left corner with 7:03 left, and the Blue Hens were still up 69-59 at the 3:32 mark when Brinkley scored inside off a Hagins feed. But Mason would not go away, as Wright hit two free throws and Marko Gujanicic buried a three-pointer to cut Delaware’s advantage to five with 1:40 on the clock.

However Threatt then found Brinkley for a layup and, following a Mason miss, Threatt connected twice from the foul line to put the Blue Hens back up nine at 73-64 with 45.2 seconds to play. A three-pointer by Allen brought the Patriots within five with 17 seconds left, but Anderson followed with two free throws to close the scoring. The Blue Hens, who entered the day ranked 10th in the nation in free throw shooting, went 8 of 8 from the stripe during the final 45 seconds to salt away the victory.

Delaware returns to the Bob Carpenter Center on Monday to host Old Dominion at 7 p.m. in a contest that will be televised by the NBC Sports Network.