Lewis Leads the Way as University of Delaware Shuts Down La Salle Long Range Attack for 70-66 Victory
December 19, 2011
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Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- Freshman guard Khalid Lewis (at right) scored all of his game-high 18 points in the second half and the University of Delaware defense shut down a vaunted La Salle three-point shooting attack to claim a thrilling 70-66 victory at the Bob Carpenter Center Monday night.
The Blue Hens (5-4), who won their second straight game and their third in the last four outings to remain unbeaten at home in four appearances this season, broke a 60-60 tie and grabbed the lead for good with just under four minutes left on back-to-back jumpers from another freshman guard, Kyle Anderson. Delaware then hung on down the stretch to snap La Salle’s five-game winning streak.
Delaware is 4-0 at home to start the season for the first time since the 1999-2000 campaign when the Hens went 24-8 under then head coach Mike Brey.
Lewis, whose previous scoring high was an 11-point effort against Villanova back on Nov. 18, didn’t even attempt a shot in 13 minutes of action in the opening half. But he saved it all for the second stanza as he knocked down 5 of 6 shots from the field, including two three-pointers, connected on 6 of 8 free throws, including two big ones with 20 seconds left that gave the Hens a three-point lead, and dished out a game-high four assists.
“We are ecstatic about this win,” said Delaware head coach Monté Ross, whose team was in action for the first time since a 58-42 victory at Delaware State on Dec. 10. “Our defense played really well tonight, holding a team that was averaging nine three-pointers a game to just two. Jamelle (Hagins) has always been a force for us inside and tonight he controlled the paint. The beauty of our team is that we have different guys who can step up on any given tonight. And tonight, Khalid was really big for us and a key reason why we won this game.”
Sophomore guard Devon Saddler (at left), Delaware’s leading scorer at 21.6 points per game, matched Lewis with 18 points while pulling down 10 rebounds to offset a nine-turnover night in which he played all 40 minutes. The pre-season All-Colonial Athletic Association standout recorded his first career double-double along the way.
Hagins recorded his sixth straight double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds to go with five blocked shots and became the first UD player to string together six straight since Harding Nana in 2004-05.
La Salle (7-4), which lost for the first time since a 51-44 setback against Robert Morris back on Nov. 25, had entered the game ranked 15th in the nation in three-point field goals made with nine per outing. But the Explorers were cold from the outset and knocked down just 2 of 16 shots from long range during the game.
La Salle’s leading scorer, Ramon Galloway, was just 4 of 20 from the field and finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. A 52 percent shooter from long range entering the game, he connected on just 1 of 6 three-pointers.
Five La Salle players did reach double figures as Devon White came off the bench to score 15 points before fouling out in the final seconds, Earl Pettis added 12 points, Jerrell Wright contributed 11 points and eight rebounds, and Sam Mills chipped in with 11 points.
The Blue Hens also downed the Explorers for the third time in the last four meetings in a series that had previously been dominated by the Explorers.
Delaware trailed almost the entire opening half, going down by as many as 11 points at 29-18 with 4:44 left before a late rally pulled the Hens to within 33-27 at the break. The Hens outscored La Salle 9-4 to close the half, getting two baskets from Hagins and three points from backup Kelvin McNeil during the run.
Lewis took over immediately in the second half, knocking down Delaware’s first three field goals of the stanza and scoring eight points in the first 2:27 to knot the score at 37-37.
La Salle answered with a 6-2 run to regain the lead and stayed in front until back-to-back three-pointers from Lewis and Saddler gave Delaware its first lead of the half at 50-47 with 12:23 left.
The score was tied five more times over the next six minutes, the last time at 60-60 with 6:58 remaining on a jumper by White. But after a nearly three-minute drought where neither team scored, Delaware got hot as Anderson hit a long jumper from the right side with 3:56 left to break the tie for good and followed with a three-pointer from almost the exact same spot just 40 seconds later for a 65-60 advantage.
Two Lewis free throws with 2:12 remaining kept the Delaware cushion at five points before La Salle’s Mills knocked down a three-pointer with 1:23 left and hit one of two free throws 37 seconds later to narrow the gap to 67-66.
Lewis hit two more from the line with 20 seconds remaining to push the lead up to 69-66 and after Mills missed a three-pointer with nine seconds left, Hagins hit a free throw with seven seconds left to preserve the victory.
Delaware will return to action Dec. 22 when the Hens head to the nation’s capital to take on Howard at 7 p.m.
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