Saddler Leads Delaware To Sixth Consecutive Win as Hens Hold Off Hampton, 68-64, in Sears BracketBusters
February 18, 2012
Photos Courtesy of Mark Jordan (Saddler) and Chris Mlynarczyk (Hagins)
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware men’s basketball squad continued to roll Saturday afternoon as the Blue Hens got a game-high 26 points from sophomore guard Devon Saddler (at right) and junior forward Jamelle Hagins (bottom left) pulled down 15 rebounds and became the school’s all-time blocked shot leader in a 68-64 Sears BracketBusters victory over Hampton at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Delaware (15-12) extended its longest win streak in over a decade to six games as the Hens took over the lead for good with six minutes left to play and narrowly held the advantage the rest of the way to down Hampton (9-17). The win streak is the Hens’ longest since a seven-gamer that lasted between Feb.. 8 and March 4, 2001. Delaware also extended its home winning streak to five games.
The Sears BracketBuster Tournament is an annual event that pits teams from different mid-major conferences in a one-game matchup late in the season. As the home team, Delaware will travel to Hampton next season for a regular season game.
Saddler recorded his 12th 20-point scoring effort of the season as he scored 16 points in the first half to stake the Hens to an 11-point lead at the break and then tallied six points over the final 2:35, including two game-clinching free throws with eight seconds left to play. He hit 8 of 16 shots from the field, was true on all eight free throw attempts, and added three assists to lead the Hens.
Hagins scored nine points, pulled a game-high 15 rebounds, and blocked three shots, upping his career total to 197 to pass former NBA draft pick Spencer Dunkley, who knocked away 195 shots during a career that spanned 1989-93 and included two NCAA Tournament appearances.
Freshman Jarvis Threatt also contributed to the Blue Hen cause as he came off the bench to score in double figures for the third straight game with 14 points, including 7 of 8 shooting from the foul line. Delaware knocked down 18 of 21 shots from the foul line for the game to offset a tough shooting night that saw the Hens convert just 8 of 26 shots (30.8 percent) from the field in the second half.
“The month of February is about finding a way to win games,” said Delaware head coach Monté Ross. “Although we didn’t play great today, we did enough to win. We have a good team and we are showing it throughout this winning streak. Jamelle’s ability to block shots makes us better defensively and hides some of our mistakes. I’m thrilled for him to be in the record books.”
Hampton, which lost for the third time in the last four games, remained winless on the road this season at 0-12. Darrion Pellum led four scorers in double figures with 18 points and seven rebounds while Christopher Tolson added 15 points, David Bruce came off the bench to contribute 12 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, and Mike Tuitt added 10 points.
The Pirates hit just 23 of 63 shots from the field (23 of 63) and converted just 4 of 17 shots from beyond the three-point line.
Delaware led by as many as 13 points in the first half on the way to a 38-27 lead at the break but the Pirates came out fast in the second half, outscoring the Hens 14-3 over the first five minutes to narrow the gap to 41-35 with 14:49 left.
Hampton then used another 12-4 run, highlighted by back-to-back three-pointers from Tellum and Tolson, to regain the lead for the first time since the opening minutes at 49-48 with 9:12 left to play.
The lead changed hands five more times over the next three minutes before the Hens took the lead for good at 54-53 on a Saddler jumper with 5:59 left to play. Threatt followed with two free throws and a Josh Brinkley dunk pushed Delaware’ lead back to five points.
Another Tolson three-pointer closed the gap to 60-59 with 2:58 left, but Delaware responded with two free throws by Saddler 23 seconds later. The Pirates closed the gap to a single point once again at 64-63 with 1:32 remaining when Bruce converted a conventional three-point play, but Threatt followed with two free throws with 1:03 left and Saddler iced the victory with two more free throws with eight seconds left to play.
Delaware will return to Colonial Athletic Association play this Wednesday, Feb. 22, when the Hens travel to last place Towson for a 7 p.m. game at the Towson Center.
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