CHARLESTON, S.C. – Delaware clinched its first regular-season conference title outright since 1999, by surviving a close 89-86 decision on the road at College of Charleston in both team’s regular-season finale on Saturday afternoon at TD Arena.
The Blue Hens (22-9, 14-2 CAA) earn the No. 1 tournament seed in the upcoming 2014 CAA Men’s Basketball Championship scheduled for March 7-10 in Baltimore, Md., while the Cougars (14-17, 6-10 CAA) will either receive the No. 6 or No. 7 seed depending on the outcomes of the remaining CAA games still to be played on Saturday night.
Delaware captured its first CAA title having previously won the America East Conference regular-season title and advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 1999. Five UD players scored in double figures including a team-high 24 from Devon Saddler and 21 from big man Carl Baptiste.
Jarvis Threatt, playing in only his second game since missing the last eight contests in CAA play, turned in a double-double with 13 points and 13 assists as well as going 11-for-14 from the free throw line. In contrast, CofC went 17-for-22 as a team from the charity stripe.
The Cougars led 45-39 at halftime and tried to play spoiler to the Blue Hens. They were led in scoring courtesy of a game-and career-high 27 points from redshirt freshman guard Canyon Barry (Colorado Springs, Colo.) off the bench. Seniors Willis Hall (Charlotte, N.C.) and Nori Johnson (Greer, S.C.), both playing in their final home game, poured in 13 each. Junior Anthony Thomas (Charlotte, N.C.) added 11.
Delaware went on a 7-2 run to open the second half of play cutting CofC’s lead down to one, 47-46, on two made free throws by Threatt. Seven ties would follow with the next seven-minute stretch as the Blue Hens’ Devon Saddler sank a free throw to make it 67-all with 7:39 remaining.
Three-pointers by both teams kept the seesaw going, but eventually UD would break out into a seven-point lead with two made free throws by Baptiste, 86-80, with 18 seconds left to seal its conference title and the league’s automatic NIT bid.
· College of Charleston started its four seniors on Senior Day with junior guard Anthony Stitt, senior combo guard Nori Johnson, senior small forward Anthony Thomas, graduate senior forward Willis Hall and senior forward Judson in the lineup against Delaware (0-1).
· Delaware claimed the regular-season series sweep over CofC and evens the all-time series to 2-2. Both CAA games were decided by three points as UD also won 64-67 on Feb. 5 in Newark, Del.
· Judson Hall made his first career start after having played in 14 career games prior to Senior Day. He saw two minutes of action against the Blue Hens and made his first career three-pointer with the game-opening bucket at the 19:14 minute mark. Hall reset his career high in points (3) and tied career bests in field-goals made and rebounds (2).
· Redshirt freshman Canyon Barry came off the bench and scored a career-high 27 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc and 8-for-10 shooting from the foul line against Delaware. His five made threes were a career best. Barry missed both teams’ last meeting with a finger injury to his shooting (right) hand. He has scored in double figures in five of the team’s last seven contests.
· CofC registered its third-highest scoring game this season (86 points) which were the third-most points allowed by Delaware to an opponent this year. Both team’s combined for 175 points in the contest the second-most combined points for CofC and an opponent next to 165 points in an 83-82 win over Charlotte on Nov. 12.
· Willis Hall and Nori Johnson each scored 13 points in the contest. Both have scored in double-digits in three of the last four games. Hall continues to move up the CofC all-time career scoring list with 1,137 career points to date which ranks 27th all-time.
· The Cougars are now 7-2 this season when scoring 70+ points in a game. Their 86 points was the second-highest on their CAA slate behind 87 points against William & Mary on Feb. 19.
· David Wishon had his third-most productive game of the season off the bench with six points, five rebounds and two blocked shots in only 15 minutes of play. He set career highs in points and free throws at Delaware on Feb. 5.
· CofC drained its second-most three-pointers in a game this season with 13 versus Delaware. It was one shy of its season-high 14 against William & Mary on Feb. 19.
· The Cougars outrebounded the Blue Hens, 37-35 (+2), behind a game-high tying eight from Adjehi Baru, who surpassed former CofC greats Jody Lumpkin (1998-01 – 710) and Kevan Elliott (1973-77 – 705) for eighth all-time on the career rebounding list with 712 to date.
College of Charleston Head Coach Doug Wojcik
On the game …
“It was a great college basketball game. We have quite a tradition going now. We didn’t write a play for (former walk-on) Bart Benton last year, but we decided we were going to design a play (game-opening three-pointer) for Judson (Hall), because he is the best shooter of the Hall Brothers. We played really well today, but we can’t give up 89 (points). Give them (Delaware) credit. They were playing for a conference regular-season championship and they now have the NIT bid locked up. Canyon (Barry) made a lot of plays. It was a very good Senior Day, and unfortunately, we didn’t win it. Our last two home games have been terrific as we have scored 87 and 86 points now. It’s been a trying and demanding year. We had so many close games and another close game today. We still compete and the kids never quit. I’m pleased with their effort. Now, we just have to build off of it (the regular season) and go up to Baltimore and make the most of our opportunity.”
On the addition of Jarvis Threatt to Delaware’s lineup …
“They played a little differently than the last time we saw them and everything now is played through him. He shoots 14 free throws and he gets 13 assists. The difference in the game was really (Kyle) Anderson’s threes. Also, can you defend (Carl) Baptiste with three guys? He has big hands and he rolls to the basket. They have really good players with four seniors out there. I’m really impressed by (Davon) Usher. He jump switches all the time. Usher is the difference in why they are conference champs. He is an unbelievable piece for them which they added last July as a transfer from Mississippi Valley State. They are plugged in and have the right chemistry going right now.”
College of Charleston Graduate Senior Forward Willis Hall
On the game-opening basket by his younger brother, Judson Hall …
“You can’t beat it. That’s just Judson. I was just looking at his stat sheet. He had three total points and two total rebounds. If we had continued to have him in the lineup, that stat line would have been 60 points and 40 offensive rebounds. Those two minutes of play – my brother gets the Senior Day Award. It’s tough to beat that feeling and we knew what the (opening) tip play was.”
College of Charleston Redshirt Freshman Guard Canyon Barry
On the game …
“It was a great game. I thought I played pretty well. My teammates were able to give me the ball where I needed it. It has been unbelievable to play with Willis (Hall), Judson (Hall), AT (Thomas) and Nori (Johnson). Wish we could’ve sent them out with a win, but it was a good college basketball game today.”