Late turnovers doom Hens
MANAGING SPORTS EDITOR
The Delaware men’s basketball team was able to overcome a 22-point deficit during Saturday’s home-opener against Charleston Southern University. The Hens were even able to recover from the Buccaneers’ 62.5 3-point shooting percentage in the first-half.
But for the second straight game, Delaware had no answer for the referees. Down by two with just seconds left to play, junior point guard Jarvis Threatt drove the lane in hopes of forcing overtime. He was hit on his way up to the basket, but the referees kept their whistles in their pockets, enabling Charleston Southern to steal a 95-93 victory.
“You can’t do anything about the last play,” a dejected Threatt said after the game. “I can’t call the call for myself. It is what it is.”
The Hens rode six early points from senior forward Carl Baptiste to start the game on a 9-2 run. Both teams continued to trade early barbs, but Delaware quickly surrendered its lead after Buccaneers guard Nimley Saah scored nine points during a 28-2 run to give Charleston Southern a commanding 21-point advantage.
Saah said his team saw weaknesses in Delaware’s defense on film and were able to exploit them early in the game.
“We noticed that on ball screens they hedge hard and rotate very hard off the weak side,” Saah said. “We were trying to draw them out off the post-hedge, get the weak-side guard to commit and just skip it over the cross.”
The sharp shooting of Hens senior guards Devon Saddler and Davon Usher helped Delaware cut the lead to 60-47 at half. The Hens came out shooting after the break, eventually taking a 78-77 lead with just under eight minutes to play.
But the Hens couldn’t get out of their own way for the remainder of the contest.
The Hens turned the ball over six times in the final six minutes of the game, enabling the Buccaneers to take a six-point lead with just over a minute left.
“I thought that we had some really costly turnovers,” said Delaware head coach Monté Ross. “Our shot selection was not as good as I would have liked.”
The free throws from Saddler closed the gap with to two points with 15 seconds to play. Five seconds later, the Hens sent Charleston Southern forward Will Saunders to the line. Saunders missed both attempts, giving Delaware one last gasp at taking the game to overtime, but Threatt’s layup attempt clanged off the rim.
When the clock struck zero, Ross, along with the rest of the Delaware bench, vented frustration at the referees for not calling a foul on the game’s final play.
Ross said after the game that he “absolutely, positively” saw Threatt get hit.
“What am I going to tell the kids? I don’t know what to tell the kids to be honest with you,” Ross said. “Play. Play as best you can and hope. Try to gauge what mood the referee is in.”
The Hens are now 0-2, having lost both games by a combined four points. The team will now head on a four-game road swing before returning home to return to play Robert Morris University on Nov. 30.
A version of this post appeared in the print edition of The Review on Nov. 12, 2013 headlined “Late turnovers doom Hens.”