Delaware Blue Hens

CAA Tournament: Huskies hold Delaware in thrilling finish

This was possibly the best game of the tournament so far. Northeastern and Delaware split the season series, each winning on the road. Northeastern came into this game as the #3 seed, also one of the 4 teams that finish with a 12-6 conference record, while #6 seed Delaware came in winning 6 out of their last 9 games. 

Huskies came out on top 67-64 in a game that came down to the wire. Huskies walked into the 2nd half with 35-31 lead that they some how managed to keep for the entire half. Delaware threatened that lead numerous times, tying it once early in the half and cutting it to 1 twice in the final two minutes. Huskies twice went up 8 and twice the Blue Hens cut it short. 

Sophomore guard, Cazmon Hayes scored all 9 of his points within the first 2 minutes of the game, tying the ball game at 40. Other role players like Zach Stahl of Northeastern (13 points, 6 boards, 5 dimes), and Barnett Harris for Delaware - who contributions doesn't show on the stat sheet - also provided big minutes. 

Delaware came within one, 60-61, with 2 minutes remaining in the game. Up to that point they had built some momentum, forcing 7 Northeastern turnovers and a couple big dunks from Marvin King-Davis. Unfortunately for the Blue Hens though, the refs would slow down that momentum with a very controversial "5 second to the basket" call on Kory Holden, that should have never been called. It's really disappointing when referees want to enforce their authority, which seemed to be the case in this game, not allowing the game to be play out on the court. 

The Huskies would score on the next possession, and the Blue Hens would score again to keep it at a 1-point game, but that controversial call stopped the bleeding for the Huskies, allowing them to regain their composure. Still the Blue Hens had opportunities, David Walker missing a free throw with 23 seconds left, giving the Blue Hens an opportunity to take the lead but Chivarsky Corbett missed the layup after Holden dished him the rock. Walker would hit his final four free throws to close out the game. He finished with 17, 3-4 from behind the arc.

Kory Holden led all scorers with 20 points, scoring 16 in the first half. I was impressed with the Maryland native, playing his high school ball in the Eastern Shore at J.M. Bennett, because of his composure throughout the game. Never did he seem rattle and he said in the press conference that he looked at it like another basketball game. As a coach you love to see that from your freshman point guard. I did want to see Holden take the final shot in those last two attempts but the young man was looking to give his teammates an opportunity, can't fault him for that.   

Northeastern will now play UNCW in the Semi-final round, which should be fun to watch. Junior Quicy Ford, led the team with 16 points and recently eclipsed 1,000 points before the tournament. Ford missed the CAA Tournament last season out with a back injury, and I can tell he is extremely motivated to finish this tournament strong. 

Going Dancing

I would like to thank the CAA conference for bringing their tournament to the city of Baltimore, we rarely get big time basketball like this, as a fan and native, I greatly appreciated. This is the best time of the year and to get a chance to witness one these great battles that goes on during the month is very gratifying. Unfortunately, only one team could go dancing from this conference, the Blue Hens of Delaware. 

This is Delaware's first CAA championship and first appearance in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament since 1999. ( Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

This is Delaware's first CAA championship and first appearance in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament since 1999. (Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

Congratulations to the University of Delaware for capturing the CAA title. They were the best team throughout the season in the conference, going 19-2 since January 1st, 14-2 in the conference. This is the Hens first conference championship in school history . For the past 2 seasons the Hens have been eliminated in the semi-finals of the CAA's but they took full advantage of the school's first championship game. Head coach Monte Williams has built a program since becoming head coach in 2006. After a few years of bad basketball, 53-103 in first 5 seasons, the program has done a 180, going 62-37 since 2011. I would say the turning point for Monte was when he recruited Devon Saddler, who started as a true freshman and will finish his Delaware career as the school's best scorer. 


Devon Saddler started all 4 season for the Hens, averaging 18 points a game for his career, being one of the top guards in the country for the past two seasons. ( Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

Devon Saddler started all 4 season for the Hens, averaging 18 points a game for his career, being one of the top guards in the country for the past two seasons. (Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

Mid-Major conferences are always filled with gems and Saddler is one of them. Saddler has been a starter for all 4 season but he burst onto the national scene his junior season, where he averaged 20 points a game and became one of the best guards in the country. Saddler is not very tall, only 6'1, but he is strong and can score in a lot of ways. He reminds me of Eric Bledsoe because both are strong guards that can attack the paint at will. Saddler averaged 16 points and 5 dimes in the conference tournament but his leadership was more vital in the championship game. In fact Saddler dish out the assist to Carl Baptise for the game winning bucket. Saddler didn't start of well though. The Hens lost their first two games and afterwards he was suspended for 7 games. To make it to this point shows how he and the team can overcome adversity. I am excited what this kid will do in the dance because he is the perfect tourney player, can take over at any time. He is NBA Bound. 


Devon Usher(0) and Carl Baptise (33) both are transfer that made a big impact throughout the season. ( Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

Devon Usher(0) and Carl Baptise (33) both are transfer that made a big impact throughout the season. (Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

Williams didn't just recruit players out of high school, he also got some talent from other schools. Seniors Carl Baptise and Baltimore native Devon Usher both transferred to UD, Baptise form Saint Joeseph in 2011 and Usher from Mississippi Valley State just this season. These two help make UD a tournament team. Baptise scored a career high 24 points and 8 rebounds while controlling the paint and Usher hit two big 3's in the last stretch of the 2nd half. Jr. point guard Jarvis Threatt also made a big bucket, an AND-1 layup that put the Hen's down 2 with 51 seconds left. The Hens had a 10 point lead early in the 2nd half but the W&M Tribe began to make a run, outscoring the Hens 33-17 for 13 minutes.

Jarvis Threatt was named tournament's Most Outstanding Player, averaging 19.6 points 7 boards and 4 dimes. ( Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

Jarvis Threatt was named tournament's Most Outstanding Player, averaging 19.6 points 7 boards and 4 dimes. (Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

This is a great win to have going into the big tournament simply because they faced adversity. While the Tribe was on their run, all the momentum was going their way and the Hens couldn't seem to find a way to slow it down. Tribe guard Marcus Thorton, scored 10 point in the final 7 minutes but missed his final two shots, one of which could have been a game winner. The Hens were smart for going inside to Baptise for the game winner because he was already having a career game. This will be a tough team to play for anybody in the first round. Saddler, Usher, and Threatt combined averaged 58 points this season, while Baptise at 6'9 270lbs controls the paint. This is a veteran squad with one of the best backcourts in the country. Don't sleep on the Hens. 

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