Newark, Del. — With the scoreboard reading 4:04 left in the second half, the Bob Carpenter Center crowd rose to their feet in unison to cheer on Devon Saddler as he stepped to the foul line. Saddler needed to sink both free throws to give him 21 points for the game to break the Delaware all-time scoring mark of 2,030 points. Saddler easily drained the first and stepped back off the line to gather himself. He bent his knees and launched the second. The ball bounced off the rim a number of times and ultimately found the bottom of the net.
"I heard the crowd cheering and I didn’t want to choke, so I just backed off and took a deep breath," Saddler said. "I knew I was going to make it, I just wanted to take my time. My teammates were telling me ‘just go, just go.’ Those were the longest two points ever."
Saddler added 8 assists and 5 rebounds in the Blue Hen’s 80-67 route of the Northeastern Huskies. The final score was not indicative of Delaware’s complete-game effort, as the Blue Hens led by 25 for the majority of the second half.
"I wasn’t really worried about the record, I was worried about the win," Saddler said. "I really wanted to get the walk-ons in. They work hard in practice and prepare for these games. We just wanted to keep it rolling the second half."
Just before the first-half Under-8 mediate timeout, Northeastern cut the Blue Hens’ lead to 32-27 with 7:59 remaining thanks to two three-pointers from David Walker and a dunk by Scott Eatherton. But out of the break, Delaware surged on a 13-0 run until Walker hit a long two with eight seconds remaining in the half. The Hens never looked back.
"We just wanted to talk [on defense]," Saddler said. "Once [Eatherton] starting going, we just wanted to double-down and we were able to do that."
Although Delaware ranks second to last in the CAA in terms of defensive efficiency, per Kenpom.com, the Blue Hens defense looked stifling on the perimeter. Carl Baptiste also did a solid job protecting the rim, finishing with 3 blocks.
Head coach Monte Ross’ team dominated this one on the offensive end, however. Alongside Saddler, Davon Usher dropped 25 points, Kyle Anderson scored 15 and Baptiste added 14 points. The Blue Hens were unconscious from deep, knocking down 67 percent of their three-point attempts in the first half before settling in at 44.4 percent for the game.
Delaware (17-7, 9-0) remains unbeaten in conference play. Northeastern (7-16, 4-5) falls back below .500 in CAA play, now stuck on a two-game losing streak.
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