NEWARK, Delaware - Delaware opened the second half with a 14-4 surge and led by as many as 20 points in the second half to race past UNCW, 71-53,in Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball Wednesday at the Bob Carpenter Center.
The Blue Hens won their third consecutive game to even their record at 12-12 on the season and stand 8-6 in the CAA. The Seahawks lost their fifth in six outings and fell to 9-15 and 5-9.
"We're disappointed in the loss," said Buzz Peterson, UNCW's second-year coach. "I didn't like the intensity level and our focus in the second half. I don't think our guys were focused in the second half. Overall, they had much more energy and they wanted the game more than us."
Sophomore guard Devon Saddler, the CAA's second leading scorer at 18.8 ppg, led all scorers with 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting. Junior forward Jamelle Hagins added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Blue Hens, who avenged an 80-75 loss to the Seahawks back on Jan. 2 at Trask Coliseum.
Junior forward Keith Rendleman paced the Seahawks with 17 points and sophomore guard Donte Morales had 11. Freshman forward Cedrick Williams chipped in six points and a game-high 10 rebounds in his 19th start of the season.
The two teams traded leads early before UD came out firing early in the second period. Hagins got the Blue Hens going with a conventional three-point play that kicked off the game-changing 10-point spurt that created separation for Monte Ross' club.
Hagins had seven points in the rally, including a layup inside that extended DU's lead to 42-31 with 13:27 remaining to play. The lead swelled to 15 points, 48-33, on a layup and free throw by Saddler at 11:41 before reserve guard Trevor Deloach drained a three-ball from the top of the key.
UNCW could get no closer than 12 points the rest of the way, however, as the Blue Hens shifted into cruise control. Reserve guard Will Townsville canned a triple with under a minute to play to give UD its largest lead of the night, 71-51.
The Blue Hens went inside early in the contest to grab a 28-27 lead at halftime as the two clubs exchanged the lead eight times and had four ties in the opening period. UD scored 18 of its 28 points in the first half inside the paint.
After Williams scored on a layup with 13:35 on the clock, UD responded with six straight points to grab control. A layup by freshman guard Jarvis Threatt gave the Blue Hens a 15-9 edge at 11:22.
But UNCW answered with a 12-2 run to build a four-point advantage. Rendleman had eight points in the spurt and his turnaround jumper with 6:42 left in the period staked the Seahawks to a 21-17 lead.
UD closed out the half strong to take a one-point lead into the break. The Blue Hens still trailed, 23-20, when Saddler was credited with a basket on a goaltending call and Josh Brinkley converted a bank shot. A pair of free throws by Morales put the Seahawks back on top briefly before Threatt scored on a layup with 1:19 to go to finish the scoring in the first period.
The Seahawks return home to entertain George Mason on Saturday at 7 p.m. in a game slated for television by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. The Blue Hens open a two-game road swing at Georgia State with a 2 p.m. tip-off at the GSU Sports Arena.
GAME NOTES: Keith Rendleman and Donte Morales combined for 21 of UNCW's 27 points in the first half...The Blue Hens still trail in the all-time series by a 16-6 margin...UNCW is 4-5 all-time at the Bob Carpenter Center...UD snapped a two-game losing streak to the Seahawks...Buzz Peterson is 14-23 vs. CAA opponents in two seasons...All nine of UNCW's dressed players saw action...UNCW is now 5-4 against UD skipper Monte Ross..UD claimed its fourth straight win over UNCW in Newark...Leading scorer Adam Smith of UNCW has held to six points on seven field goal attempts...UNCW had 17 turnovers to just seven for UD...The Seahawks went 2-for-10 from long distance...UD was 8-for-21 from the three-point line...UNCW won the battle of the boards, 36-35.