February 2, 2013

Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
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Athlete photoNEWARK, Del. -- Junior guard Devon Saddler (at right) and senior forward Jamelle Hagins each surpassed the 20-point mark and the University of Delaware took control midway through the opening half and never looked back in posting a 71-56 Colonial Athletic Association triumph over UNCW Saturday afternoon at the Bob Carpenter Center.

Saddler led the way with a game-high 21 points - surpassing the 20-point mark for the eighth time this season - and Hagins dropped in 20 points to go with a game-high 11 rebounds as Delaware (11-11, 6-3 CAA) evened its record for the season thanks to its third straight victory.

Jarvis Threatt added 15 points, five rebounds, and four steals while Josh Brinkley chipped in with nine points and eight rebounds for the Blue Hens, who defeated UNCW at home for the fifth straight time.

UNCW (8-13, 3-6 CAA) lost for the third time in its last four outings and fell to 1-11 on the road this season. The Seahawks have now lost 17 of their last 18 road games.

Craig Ponder came off the bench to lead UNCW with 14 points while Keith Rendleman added 11 points and five rebounds.

Hagins outdid Rendleman in a battle of two of the top big men in the Colonial Athletic Association as Hagins posted his 12th double-double of the season with 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting. Rendleman managed just 3 of 11 shooting from the field before fouling out in the final minute of play.

Athlete photo"Defensively we were sharp today," said Delaware head coach Monté Ross. "They have a lot of weapons but we got off to good starts in both halves and that was a big key. I thought Jamelle played well both offensively and defensively and had a focused effort out there. We have been rebounding the ball well lately and that has been the biggest difference in our win streak."

Delaware's 6-3 start in league play ties for its best record at the midway point of league play since joining the CAA in 2001-02. The Hens also started out 6-3 during the 2007-08 campaign.

Saddler the CAA's leading scorer at 19.2 points per game, knocked down 8 of 14 shots from the field for his 21 points and reached double figures for the 28th straight game since last season, the longest current streak among CAA players and fourth highest in Delaware history.

Despite going 0 for 11 from beyond the three-point line, Delaware shot 46.3 percent from the field (25 of 54) and were deadly from the line, hitting 21 of 26 attempts.

The Hens failed to hit a three-pointer for the second time this season and for the first time since going 0 for 8 vs. Towson back on Jan. 16. That performance snapped a streak of 675 straight games with a triple that dated back to the 1990-91 season.

The Hens also held a commanding 41-29 edge on the boards while holding the Seahawks to 34.5 percent shooting from the field (19 of 55). UNCW also did not fare well from long range as it hit just 2 of 13 three-point attempts.

The teams traded the lead four times in the opening seven minutes of the game before consecutive jumpers from Saddler capped a 7-0 run that gave the Hens a 15-9 lead. Two Saddler free throws pushed the lead to double digits at 21-11 and the Hens rolled to a 33-24 halftime lead.

Delaware's lead stayed right around the 10-point mark for most of the second half before two free throws each from Hagins and Brinkley pushed the lead to 15 points at 53-38 with 9:12 remaining.

UNCW cut the lead to nine points several times in the final six minutes and narrowed the gap to as little as eight points at 64-56 on a layup by Ponder with 2:06 left. But Delaware closed out the deal by scoring the final seven points of the game, including a dunk by Brinkley, to finish off the victory.

Delaware will continue play Feb. 6 on the road at rival Towson where the Hens will be looking to avenge a 69-66 loss back on Jan. 16.