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Delaware Wins 90-77 at Drexel

First place in the CAA was on the line tonight in Philadelphia. The Delaware Blue Hens needed to win to maintain their spot atop the conference standings. They did, and they also made clear they are much better than the preseason poll's projection.

Delaware players celebrate from the bench.
Delaware players celebrate from the bench.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Delaware went into Drexel looking to make a statement. The Blue Hens were picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll, two spots behind the Dragons. Entering this game, Delaware's 4-0 record was the best in the CAA while Drexel's 2-2 record was tied for fifth.

A win by either of these longtime rivals - including tonight's game, Drexel and Delaware have met 149 times - would resonate across the conference.

It was a close game for the first couple of minutes before the Blue Hens' hot shooting pushed the lead to pre-blowout levels. Carl Baptiste was on fire early, scoring four points in the first minute alone. Five players scored within the first five minutes as the Blue Hens pushed their lead to ten points, 17-7.

Delaware was unselfish and very efficient. The Blue Hens made 14 of their first 20 shots on the way to shooting 59.4% in the half.

It wasn't all offense in the first half, either. Drexel shot just 35% from the field against the swarming defense of Delaware. On top of not shooting well, the Dragons weren't getting many second chances. Delaware won the battle on the boards 23-12, giving up just four offensive rebounds.

Half number two got off to a completely different start than half number one.

Down sixteen, the Dragons went on a 7-0 run to open the half. Drexel's defense came alive as well, holding the Blue Hens scoreless for nearly three minutes. Over the first five minutes the Dragons cut the lead in half. However, eight was as close as they would get.

Devon Saddler came alive just as Drexel started to challenge. He scored seven straight points mid-half and extended the lead back to sixteen. From there Delaware went up by nineteen. Saddler's second half explosion moved him into third place nationally among active players in career points scored.

The Dragons responded by speeding up on offense and applying full court presses on defense. Delaware can play fast, too. Saddler and company had no problem running past the pressure for easy points in the paint. Quite often the result was an uncontested Marvin King-Davis slam dunk.

Rivalry games are exciting even if they're one sided. Drexel never had much of a shot in the second half, but that didn't stop them from going all out. A Jarvis Threatt lay-up with 6:08 drew a blocking foul on Drexel's Tavon Allen. A squabble after the whistle resulted in a double technical, King-Davis on the Delaware side and Chris Fouch for Drexel.

Carl Baptiste fouled out with 5:22 remaining, but the Blue Hens managed to maintain a double-digit lead.

The final minute saw Drexel pull back on defense, allowing the Hens to dribble out the clock over their final two offensive possessions.

Delaware moves to 5-0 in CAA play while Drexel falls to 2-3.