Kansas State Holds Off Delaware 66-63 in NIT Season Tip-Off Semifinals Despite Career Night By Saddler
November 21, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Mark Jordan
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Blue Hen junior guard Devon Saddler (at right) tied his career-high with 32 points but the University of Delaware men’s basketball team came up just short as Kansas State held off the Blue Hens, 66-63, Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden in the NIT Season Tip-Off Semifinals.
The Blue Hens, who fell to 2-2 on the year, will face Pittsburgh, a 67-62 loser to No. 5 Michigan in the other semifinal Wednesday, on Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the consolation game that will be televised by ESPN.
The Wildcats, who moved to 5-0 on the campaign, will face Michigan Friday at 5 p.m. in the championship.
Saddler went 12 of 22 from the field, hit three three-pointers, grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists for the Blue Hens, while senior forward Jamelle Hagins snared a game-high 15 rebounds to go with 12 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field. However Hagins missed a majority of the second half with cramps, while sophomore Jarvis Threatt was also sidelined with cramps for the third time this year.
Angel Rodriguez, Will Spradling and Thomas Gipson each scored 12 points to lead Kansas State, which is receiving votes in both national polls this week. Gipson and Spradling tied for the team lead with six rebounds for the while Spradling handed out seven assists.
Delaware, playing its first ever game at Madison Square Garden and its first ever contest against a Big 12 school, shot 44.4 percent from the field but was hurt by just 11 of 18 shooting from the foul line. The Blue Hens limited Kansas State to just 38.5 percent from the field, although the Wildcats did go 12 of 14 from the charity stripe.
Consecutive baskets by Hagins gave Delaware an early 7-4 lead with 15:14 left in the first half but the Blue Hens then missed their next five field goal attempts, as Kansas State responded to with a 10-1 spurt to go up 14-8 on a DJ Johnson basket at the 10:16 mark.
Saddler and Terrell Rogers hit jumpers for UD, but Rodney McGruder scored in transition before a Spradling three-pointer extended the Wildcats margin to 19-12 with 8:21 on the clock.
It was still a seven-point game but Hagins scored inside twice before Saddler converted a contested layup as Delaware closed within 21-20 with three and a half minutes left in the half. The Blue Hens eventually tied the game at 25-25 on a baseline jumper by Hagins, before the Wildcats’ Shane Southwell scored in the pant in the final seconds to give Kansas State a two-point advantage at the break.
Delaware shot just 37 percent in the opening half, but stayed in the contest by holding Kansas State to 31 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes.
The Blue Hens tied the game twice early in the second half but Kansas State went back in front by six at 37-31 on a Spradling three-pointer with 14:40 remaining. Delaware pulled within a point at 39-38 on a triple by Saddler, but Southwell countered with a three-pointer at the other end to put the Wildcats back up four.
Threatt hit a pair of free throws by pull UD within 49-43, before Gipson scored inside and Southwell buried another triple as the Wildcats went up double digits at 54-43 with 8:53 to play.
It was still a 10-point game but Delaware would not go away, as Kyle Anderson drained a three-pointer and Saddler converted a three-point play to make it 56-52 with 5:04 left. Adrian Diaz threw down a dunk for the Wildcats, but Saddler buried a trey to cut the Blue Hens’ deficit to 58-55 with three and a half minutes to play.
Rodriguez scored on a driving layup, but Saddler again connected from long distance to bring Delaware within a pair. Nino Williams then hit an 18-foot jumper for Kansas State for his only points of the night, but Rogers scored in the paint to make it 62-60 with 27.6 seconds left.
However Spradling hit two free throws with 22.3 seconds to play, and after Saddler scored again, Spradling again went 2 of 2 from the line. Delaware had one final chance down four when Saddler was fouled attempting a three-pointer with one second to play, but after missing the first free throw and making the second, he missed the third on purpose. Kansas State then grabbed the loose ball as the buzzer sounded.
“Congratulations to Kansas State, they played a good ballgame,” said Blue Hen head coach Monté Ross. “They executed out there to get a working margin, and then held us off at the end. In the first half we just didn’t play, but in the second half we got back to Delaware basketball. Devon (Saddler) is a young man who’s not phased by anything, so I knew he would not be bothered by playing in the Garden. He just wants to win, and he’s a special kid to coach.”
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