Blue Hens Win Fourth Straight With Hard-Fought 55-53 Victory at Hampton
December 8, 2010
photo courtesy of Mark Campbell
HAMPTON, Va. -- UD sophomore forward Josh Brinkley (at right) tied his career-high with 18 points and put Delaware in front for good with a basket with 52 seconds remaining to lead the Blue Hen men’s basketball team to an impressive 55-53 comeback victory over Hampton Wednesday night at the HU Convocation Center.
Jawan Carter added 15 points and tied his career-high with nine rebounds for Delaware, which improved to 4-2 on the season. The Blue Hens, who won their second consecutive road game, have now won four straight overall for the first time since Jan. 2-12, 2008.
Hampton, which had won seven consecutive games and was ranked No. 23 in this week’s CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll, dropped to 7-2 on the season. Darrion Pellum led the Pirates with 17 points, while Charles Funches added 16 and Mike Tuitt chipped in with 12.
Delaware trailed by four at the half and faced an eight-point deficit with 8:33 left to a Pirates team that entered the night ranked second in Division I with a 32.9 field goal percentage defense and fourth by allowing 53.9 points per game, but the Blue Hens would dig deep to post the comeback win.
Delaware would not allow a Hampton field goal the rest of the way, outscoring the Pirates 16-6 from there to defeat Hampton for the third time in the last four years.
Brinkley began the comeback by draining two free throws and then converting a three-point play after getting fouled on a dunk as Delaware closed to within 47-44 at the 7:35 mark.
Following a free throw by Tuitt, Brian Johnson scored on a drive to make it a two-point game. Hampton answered with three free throws, but Brinkley converted a follow-up dunk to cut the Pirates lead to 51-48 at the 4:28 mark.
Hampton then turned the ball over, and Brinkley posted another three-point play to bring the Blue Hens even at 51-51. The Pirates then missed inside giving UD the chance to take the lead, but Johnson was short on a three-pointer and Jamelle Hagins missed inside as the game remained tied.
Funches was then called for a travel, while Brinkley scored in the paint as Delaware went ahead for the first time in the half at 53-51 with 52 seconds on the clock.
On Hampton’s next possession Funches was fouled, but he only hit one free throw to cut the Blue Hens’ margin to one with 25.8 seconds left.
Johnson hit one free throw to make it a two-point game, but after Tuitt was fouled with 11.2 seconds to go, he went 1 of 2 to again bring Hampton within a point. Carter then hit a free throw with 8.4 seconds left to once again make it a two-point game, and following a Hampton timeout, Pellum’s contested off-balance jumper from 18 feet was well short.
“This was a total team effort of heart and guts,” said fifth-year Delaware head coach Monte Ross, whose team was coming off a 75-67 win over Old Dominion on Saturday. “We didn’t do a lot of things well tonight, but we gutted it out. I’m very proud of the guys’ effort. We got some big buckets and some key stops down the stretch. If we continue to play good defense, we will have a chance to win every night.”
Both teams struggled from the field, as Delaware shot 35.8 percent while Hampton connected on just 35.4 percent of its field goal attempts. The Blue Hens and Pirates also both hurt themselves from the foul line, as UD went 12 of 25 from the charity stripe while Hampton was just 17 of 31.
The first half was tightly contested, as neither team led by more than four points the entire stanza. Alphonso Dawson’s second three-pointer of the period cut Hampton’s lead to a point at 25-24 with three minutes on the clock, and it was still a one-point game until Tuitt’s running three-pointer just before the buzzer banked in to give the Pirates a 29-25 halftime lead.
Funches opened the second half with a pair of baskets to put Hampton up eight, but Carter answered with a three-pointer and then hit a free throw to pull the Blue Hens within 33-29. Delaware cut the margin to 35-33 when Devon Saddler found Brinkley for a slam dunk, but Pellum and Brandon Tunnell answered as Hampton held on to the lead.
Pellum hit a long two-point jumper to extend the Pirates’ advantage to 42-35 with 12:13 remaining, but Dawson connected from the baseline to make it a five-point game. Hampton answered to twice go up eight, the second time at 47-39 with 8:33 remaining, before the Blue Hens began their comeback.
Delaware will look for its fifth straight victory on Saturday when the Blue Hens host in-state rival Delaware State at 2 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center.Back To Men's Basketball Home Men's Basketball Story Archive