Blue Hens Battle League Co-Leader VCU Before Falling, 84-74, in Double Overtime
February 9, 2011
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
• Photo Gallery
NEWARK, Del. -- Delaware battled CAA co-leader VCU through 40 minutes of regulation and two overtime periods, but in the end the Blue Hens could not withstand having four players foul out as the Rams escaped with an 84-74 victory Wednesday night at the Carpenter Center.
Jamie Skeen led the Rams (20-6, 12-2 CAA) with a career-high 32 points and 11 rebounds, while Joey Rodriguez added 15 points including two big three-pointers during VCU’s second half comeback. Bradford Burgess reached the 1,000-point mark by scoring 14 points to go with nine rebounds, while Brandon Rozzell was the fourth Ram in double figures with 11 points.
Freshman Devon Saddler (above right) led the Blue Hens (11-13, 6-8 CAA) in scoring for the sixth time in seven games by pouring in 19 points, but was called for a pushoff foul early in the second overtime period to become disqualified. Jawan Carter added 15 points and a season-high eight assists while playing 48 minutes, as he moved into sole possession of seventh place on the UD career scoring chart and surpassed the 1,400-point mark for his career. Brian Johnson (left) reached double figures for the first time this season by contributing 10 points off the bench, Kelvin McNeil (below right) posted nine points and eight boards, and Jamelle Hagins chipped in eight points and eight boards.
VCU, which has now won 11 of its last 12 games and four straight over Delaware, remained in a tie for first place in the league along with George Mason. Delaware dropped its fourth consecutive game, while its four-game home losing streak is UD’s longest since the Blue Hens dropped their first five home games during the 2006-07 season.
Delaware jumped out to an 11-point lead at 50-39 with 12:43 remaining on a three-pointer by Johnson, but VCU quickly rallied with 10 straight points to pull within one.
Saddler, who entered the game shooting just 22 percent from behind the arc but went 4 of 5 on the night, ended the spurt with a three-pointer and later hit another triple in transition to up the margin back to seven at 58-51 with 7:42 left. But Rodriguez countered with a pair of big three-pointers for the Rams, the second one cutting Delaware’s lead to 60-57 at the 6:12 mark. Rodriguez then hit a jumper while being fouled, and his subsequent free throw knotted the contest at 60-60 with five minutes remaining.
Saddler answered with another three-pointer, and after Rozzell hit two free throws, Carter answered with a pair from the foul line to put Delaware up 65-62 with 3:37 to play. But after each team had an empty possession, Skeen converted a three-point play to knot the game again at 65-65 at the 2:35 mark.
Rodriguez then put the Rams in front for the first time in the half with a driving layup, but Saddler answered to tie the game again in the final minute. Hakim McCullar then blocked a layup attempt by Burgess, but Carter’s last second attempt in the paint was short, sending the Blue Hens to overtime for the first time this season.
Saddler scored to open the extra session, but McNeil then fouled out going for a rebound and Burgess connected twice from the line to tie the game at 69-69.
Skein then grabbed a loose ball and scored to put the Rams up a pair, but after Carter missed a three-pointer in the final seconds, he grabbed a loose ball and found D.J. Boney wide open for the tying layup with 1.6 seconds left to force double overtime.
Skeen started the second overtime scoring with a basket, and on Delaware’s first possession Saddler was called for an offensive foul, as he became the third Blue Hen to foul out of the game. On VCU’s ensuing possession, McCullar was called for a foul defending Skeen, fouling him out of the contest. Skeen then hit one free throw, but Carter answered with a driving layup to make it a one-point game.
Johnson then hit one free throw to pull the Blue Hens even, but a three-pointer by Rozzell and two free throws by Rodriguez put VCU up 79-74 with 1:16 to play. Carter then stepped on the endline, and five VCU free throws down the stretch put the game away.
VCU, which reached the 20-win mark for the fifth straight season, held a 45-37 rebounding advantage and helped themselves by shooting 75.8 percent from the foul line as the Rams topped Delaware for the 14th time in the last 15 meetings.
“We’ve got a tough bunch of guys, but we just ran out of bodies,” said Blue Hen head coach Monté Ross, who played Edwin Santiago and Will Townsville in the second overtime period after neither player had seen any action until that point. “We guarded the heck out of them for most of the game but had to go zone in the second overtime, and they hit a big three-pointer. Defensively we played well, but we turned the ball over too much near the end of regulation.”
A Carter three-pointer gave Delaware an early 13-9 advantage before the Rams countered with six straight points to regain the lead on a Juvonte Riddic dunk with 10:20 remaining.
A baseline jumper by McCullar put Delaware back ahead but a 7-0 VCU spurt, including five by Skeen, gave the Rams a 22-16 edge with eight and a half minutes left in the period. However after VCU increased the margin to seven, three-pointers by Boney and Johnson followed by a McNeil basket gave Delaware the lead back, 26-25, with 4:51 remaining
It was still a one-point game late in the period, but a follow by Carter and two free throws by Boney gave the Blue Hens a 34-29 halftime advantage.
Delaware quickly extended the advantage to double figures as a Hagins layup and a Saddler three-pointer made it a 39-29 game early in the second stanza. Three times the Rams cut their deficit to six, but a jumper in the paint by Hagins and a three-pointer from the right corner by Johnson gave the Blue Hens their largest lead of the night at 50-39 with 12:37 to play.
However fallowing a Rams timeout, VCU ran off 10 straight points, setting up the dramatic finish.
Delaware concludes its three-game homestand on Saturday when the Blue Hens host Hofstra at 2 p.m.Back To Men's Basketball Home Men's Basketball Story Archive