Game #9-493: Hofstra Pride vs. Delaware Blue HensMarch 9, 2013 6:00 pm
The middle game of the Saturday CAA quarterfinals began as the quietest. George Mason fans had traveled well for the opening game of the tournament, and a solid number remained for this one. James Madison was also well represented, as a number of Dukes fans trickled into the Richmond Coliseum prior to their nightcap matchup with William & Mary. Both of the Virginia fanbases individually far surpassed the combined attendance of those rooting for either of the teams actually playing, and neither contingent seemed to care for the vast majority of the contest--until things got wild.
Second-seeded Delaware was the top quarterfinal seed, as first-seeded Northeastern received a bye to the semifinals in the seven team tournament. The Blue Hens had high expectations coming into the season, but other than a Red Line Upset of Virginia in the NIT Tip-Off, they failed to convert a number of nonconference opportunities. They played fairly well in conference, though, dropping two to a surprising good (and tournament-ineligible) Towson squad but finishing 13-5 overall, including wins in their final four games to pick up the two seed.
Hofstra, meanwhile, had few expectations, and the Pride did not exceed them. They finished CAA play at 4-14; none of those wins were over a team with a record of .500 or better on the year. And yet, everything resets during tournament season. Three wins in Richmond would have propelled them to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001--when they took down Delaware in the America East tourney earn a bid.
Alas, it was not to be.
The first half produced some of the most exciting, if not the prettiest, basketball as I've seen this season. Both teams shot below 40 percent from the field in the frame and the Blue Hens managed to hit just three-of-eight attempts from the free-throw line. But neither team lead by more than four at any point, and the Pride's David Imes broke a late half tie with a superhoop to give Hofstra a three-point edge at halftime.
Delaware began the second half with a 7-0 run to match its largest lead, but the seven seed refused to go away. Imes's dunk a few minutes later tied it up once more, and though the Pride didn't take the lead, they kept the game within five through the U8 timeout. The Blue Hens looked to be pulling away at that point though, as they bookended the timeout with a 7-0 run to take their first double-digit advantage at 53-43.
And yet the Pride kept fighting. Taran Buie answered the run-capping triple with his own superhoop on the next possession before baskets from Stevie Mejia and Jordan Allen pulled them within three yet again and forced a Delaware timeout with 5:18 to play. The Hens, though, quickly pushed their lead back to eight, and held a six-point advantage as the PA announcer intoned, "One minute remaining. One minute."
Then there was this sequence.
With 50 seconds left and a chance to effectively seal it, Jarvis Threatt's jumper bounced off the rim and to his teammate Carl Baptiste, who promptly fell down and traveled. The Pride, still down six, ran the floor, and Buie hoisted up a three-point attempt. That missed, but the ball slipped off the hand of DU's Jamelle Hagins and out of bounds as he attempted to secure the rebound. Mejia, however, couldn't get the ball into his man on the inbounds play, turning it over to Devon Saddler. With under 30 seconds to play now, Saddler found a wide-open Threatt, who could have dribbled around for a bit to run clock. Instead, he burst down the floor uncontested, rose up for the huge, game-sealing dunk and... missed. Badly. So badly that I don't think words can do it justice. I can't find a clip to embed, but fast forward to the 93:20 mark of this replay to check it out.
After picking up the long rebound, the Pride found Buie, who launched and hit a contested three. As you may be able to tell from the video above, while the Hofstra crowd was anemic at best, that shot sent the Coliseum into a frenzy. Virtually everyone clad in green-and-gold and purple-and-gold wanted to see Hofstra complete the comeback.
Unfortunately as we all well know, for every successful Cinderella moment there are far more times when the overdog carries the day. This was no different. Threatt atoned for his embarrassment by making both free-throws upon being fouled, and Delaware closed out the game in the final seconds.
DELAWARE 62, HOFSTRA 57
HOFSTRA 7-25 (4-14) -- D. Imes 5-13 0-0 12; S. Mejia 3-13 6-8 13; T. Buie 5-15 0-1 13; J. Allen 4-7 0-2 8; M. Kone 3-8 1-5 7; D. Brown 2-5 0-0 4; A. Savion 0-0 0-0 0; M. Grogan 0-0 0-0 0; D. Payen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-61 7-16 57.
DELAWARE 19-13 (13-5) -- J. Hagins 3-6 6-10 12; D. Saddler 7-15 5-6 22; J. Threatt 2-8 11-14 15; C. Baptiste 0-1 0-2 0; K. Anderson 1-6 0-0 2; J. Brinkley 1-3 0-0 2; L. Savage 2-4 0-0 4; T. Rogers 2-2 0-0 5; W. Townsville 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-45 22-32 62.
Three-point goals: HOFS 6-17 (S. Mejia 1-3; D. Imes 2-6; T. Buie 3-8), DEL 4-12 (D. Saddler 3-7; J. Threatt 0-1; K. Anderson 0-3; T. Rogers 1-1); Rebounds: HOFS 35 (S. Mejia 8), DEL 41 (J. Hagins 15); Assists: HOFS 11 (S. Mejia 6), DEL 11 (J. Threatt 4); Total Fouls -- HOFS 20, DEL 18; Fouled Out: HOFS-J. Allen; DEL-None.
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