Hens survive two straight last-second games, secure second place
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 19:02
After Drexel guard Damien Lee missed a potential game -winning 3-point attempt with 8 seconds left to play in double overtime, the Delaware men’s basketball team found itself in an all-too-familiar position.
The Hens had an opportunity to defeat the rival Dragons and vault themselves back into second-place in the CAA after losing to James Madison in the final second just four days earlier.
Senior forward Jamelle Hagins took in the rebound and hit one of two shots from the free-throw line to give the Hens a 73-71 advantage with 3.7 seconds on the clock. After a timeout, Drexel guard Frantz Massenat caught a long inbounds pass at center court. He drove down the lane, but Hagins was there to get his hands on an off-balance shot.
Although the Drexel bench wanted a goaltending call, the referees’ whistles remained silent, allowing Delaware to sweep the season series with Drexel for the first time since 1999-2000. After the game, Hagins said he thought he goaltended the basketball.
“I was a little worried, but I just didn’t want to go to a third overtime so I had to do something,” Hagins said.
Delaware began the contest on a 7-0 run after Drexel missed its first five shots from the field. The Dragons had three team fouls before they scored their first basket, which came on a fast-break layup by Massenat nearly five and a half minutes into the first period.
Drexel’s early misfortunes were highlighted by a Lee miss with 17:40 left in the half. Hagins grabbed the ball off the boards, which was his 1000th rebound of his career. At the post-game press conference, Head coach Monte Ross expressed his appreciation for Hagins’ contributions to the Delaware basketball program.
“People don’t realize what he’s done,” Ross said. “It’s just amazing to score 1000 points and then grab 1000 rebounds. Those are things that people don’t understand how much he’s meant to our program, to me and our team.”
Hagins had four rebounds and two assists halfway through the first period. However, he stayed quiet until the break, as he deferred to junior guard Devon Saddler and sophomore guard Jarvis Threatt to keep the Hens in front of Drexel. Saddler and Threatt accounted for over half of Delaware’s first half points, which allowed the Hens to take a 31-24 lead into the break.
Delaware took a nine-point advantage, their largest of the game, after Threatt hit two free throws to open up the second half. After trailing for 35:23, the Dragons took the lead when Lee hit a 3-point shot to make the score 49-48 with 3:41 left to play in the game. The contest remained scoreless until Massenat hit another 3-pointer with 1:53 on the clock, which gave the Dragons a 52-48 advantage.
Saddler immediately responded, as he got fouled by Drexel forward Kazembe Abif on a made layup. It was Abif’s fifth foul of the game, which made him the first of four Dragons to foul out. Drexel head coach James Flint said Delaware’s ability to get to the free throw line was the difference in the game.
“They shot 42 foul shots,” Flint said. “The game went to overtime. We shot 21. They made more than we shot. No question, that’s the game right there.”
Hagins tied the game at 52-52 on two free throws with 1:09 left to play. The contest remained scoreless for the remainder of regulation, as Massenat’s off-balance heave fell short as time expired to force overtime. Although Drexel forward Tavon Allen gave the Dragons a three-point lead with just over 2 minutes left in the extra period, Saddler was able to force two blocking fouls by Drexel forward Goran Pantovic and hit three free throws to tie the game at 60.
Drexel had the final possession of the first overtime, but Allen missed a 3-point shot from the right wing to bring the game into another extra period. The second overtime saw five ties and seven lead changes, until Hens freshman guard Terrell Rogers hit two free throws to give Delaware a permanent lead with 37 seconds remaining. The Dragons were unable to score again, as the Hens took home their fifth victory in their last six games.
Ross said this was exactly the kind of matchup he expected between these two rivals.
“I think what you saw today was what college athletics are all about,” Ross said. “Two teams playing their hearts out for 50 minutes and each team refused to budge or give an inch. When we went up, they responded. When they went up, we responded.”