Cold-Shooting Blue Hens Falter Down the Stretch in 58-48 Setback to Rival Drexel
February 5, 2011
Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- Despite suffering through its worst shooting performance of the season, the University of Delaware men's basketball team managed to build a seven-point second half lead but the margin didn't hold up as the Hens fell to rival Drexel 58-48 Saturday night at the Bob Carpenter Center.
The Blue Hens (11-12, 6-7 CAA), who needed a win to move into a tie for fifth place in the Colonial Athletic Association standings, dropped their third straight game despite a career-high 20 points from freshman guard Devon Saddler (at right).
Drexel, which swept the season series from Delaware for the first time since the 2006-07 season, got a big effort from guard Chris Fouch, who came off the bench to score 19 of his game-high 23 points in the second half to lead the Dragon comeback. Fouch, who also pulled seven rebounds while connecting on 8 of 11 shots from the field and 7 of 8 from the line, recorded his sixth 20-point effort of the season.
Freshman Dartaye Ruffin also had a big day off the bench for Drexel (16-7, 8-5 CAA) as he dropped in 14 points and pulled eight rebounds to lift the Dragons, who posted a win earlier this season over national-power Louisville, to their third consecutive victory and their fifth in their last six outings. Samme Givens, the CAA's leading rebounder with 10.5 per game, also added eight points and eight rebounds for Drexel.
Delaware hit just 15 of 51 shots from the field (29.4 percent) for the game and managed to connect on only 2 of 12 three-point attempts in scoring a season-low 48 points, the team's lowest output since a 65-44 setback to Old Dominion on Dec. 5, 2009.
Saddler hit on 8 of 16 shots from the field, but the rest of the Blue Hens lineup connected on 7 of 35 shots as the team’s leading scorer Jawan Carter (15.1 points per game) struggled with a 1 for 10 shooting performance and finished with eight points. Kelvin McNeil, who has moved into the starting lineup with starter Josh Brinkley lost for the season due to a stress fracture injury, scored five points, blocked three shots, and pulled a team-high seven rebounds.
The Hens were also hurt by 8 of 15 shooting from the foul line, including missing 5 of 8 over the final five minutes of play as they tried to get back into the game. The Dragons helped their cause by converting 19 of 23 shots from the foul line for the game, including hitting 13 of 15 shots in the second half and 7 of 8 in the final 35 seconds to ice the victory.
"We got some good looks at times but the ball just didn't go in for us tonight," said Delaware head coach Monté Ross. "We put too much pressure on our defenses by only scoring 48 points. Our inability to defend the dribble, especially on Fouch, was the difference in the game."
Neither team led by more than five points in a hard-fought first half that featured six ties. Carter knocked down three free throws with just two seconds left in the stanza to knot the score at 23-23 at the break.
Drexel’s Daryl McCoy broke the tie with a layup just 37 seconds into the stanza, but a three-pointer by Carter, his only trey of the game, started an 11-2 run that lifted the Blue Hens to a seven-point cushion at 34-27 with 14:34 left to play. The Hens still led by seven points with 12:21 left after a layup by Saddler before the Dragons came to life.
Fouch finished off a conventional three-point play to start a 13-4 run in which he scored 11 points which gave Drexel the lead at 42-40 with 5:28 remaining. Saddler ended the string with two free throws 20 seconds later to knot the score for eighth time at 42-42, but Drexel answered by scoring the next nine points, including four by Fouch, to take control at 51-42 with 2:27 left. Saddler scored the next four points for the Hens to narrow the gap to 51-46 with 1:34 left, but the Hens could never get closer.
Delaware will continue its three-game homestand this Wednesday, Feb., 9, when the Hens host CAA co-leader Virginia Commonwealth (19-6, 11-2 CAA) at 7 p.m. at the BCC.Back To Men's Basketball Home Men's Basketball Story Archive