Blue Hens Rally in Second Half To Defeat UNCW, 70-57, Clinch Share of CAA Regular Season Title
WILMINGTON, N.C. -- The University of Delaware men’s basketball team rallied from a nine-point deficit in the second half by dominating the final 15 minutes as the Blue Hens posted a 70-57 victory over UNCW at Trask Coliseum Wednesday night to clinch at least a share of the Colonial Athletic Association regular season title.
Delaware, which improved to 21-9 overall and 13-2 in the conference, remained a game in front of Towson with one contest remaining. The Blue Hens close out their regular season on Saturday with a 2 p.m. game at College of Charleston looking to clinch their first outright regular season CAA title, and their first overall since claiming the America East crown in 1998-99.
Delaware junior guard Jarvis Threatt returned from an eight-game absence to score a game-high 24 points, leading five Blue Hens in double figures. Threatt was 7 of 10 from the field while adding six assists and four steals, although he finished just 9 of 20 from the foul line. Davon Usher, Devon Saddler, and Kyle Anderson each contributed 11 points for Delaware, while Carl Baptiste recorded his fourth double-double in five games with 10 points and a game-best 16 rebounds.
The win gave eighth-year Blue Hen head coach Monté Ross 111 career victories, moving him into sole possession of second place on the Delaware career wins list. UD improved to 6-1 in CAA road games this year, and has now won 17 of its last 20 conference road contests.
Tanner Milson scored 11 points to lead UNCW, who dropped to 9-22 overall and 3-13 in conference play.
After both teams struggled from the field during a tightly contested opening 20 minutes, Threatt found Cazmon Hayes for a layup in the final seconds to give Delaware a 29-25 halftime lead.
However the Seahawks opened the second half with a 13-0 run as Delaware missed its first 11 shots from the floor, while a Milson triple gave UNCW a 38-29 advantage and forced a Blue Hen timeout with 15:53 remaining.
Anderson finally put Delaware on the board in the second half with a three-pointer at the 15:23 mark, while Usher connected from long range to give the Blue Hens their first lead of the half at 44-43 with 12:03 left.
It was still a two-point game two and a half minutes later, before Baptiste and Threatt scored to increase Delaware’s cushion to 54-48 with 8:39 to play. The Seahawks closed to within 56-51 with six and a half minutes to go, but the Blue Hens answered with a 9-2 spurt, went up 65-53 on a three-point play by Threatt, and were not threatened from there.
“I’m really happy to be able to come out and get a win on the road, especially since UNCW has been playing well at home,” Ross said. “We were really sharp defensively, and were able to take them out of what they were trying to do. Jarvis is a difficult matchup and is hard to guard. I’m hoping he has the burst of energy he had tonight throughout the rest of the season.”
Both teams struggled from the field during the opening half, as the lead changed 10 times and neither squad led by more than four points. The Blue Hens trailed 22-20 with 5:42 remaining in the half but closed the period with a 9-3 spurt as Threatt found Hayes for a layup to give Delaware a 29-25 advantage at the break.
Delaware went just 14 of 34 from the free throw line for the night, but shot 46.7 percent from the field in the second half to eventually pull away. The Blue Hens limited UNCW to 30.8 percent shooting during the contest, including just 5 of 20 shooting from behind the arc.
The Hens will close out the regular season on Saturday when they travel to the College of Charleston for a 2 pm matchup. A win by Delaware or a loss by Towson against William & Mary will give the Hens the outright CAA regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming CAA Tournament.