Delaware men knock off Charleston in CAA contest

NEWARK — On paper, this was something of a mismatch.

Charleston had eight conference wins, Delaware owned just one.

The Cougars had won six of their last eight games, the Blue Hens were 1-16 in their last 17.

But Delaware still plays with a confidence that belies its woeful record.

The Hens looked like they were in control from the start on Thursday night, never trailing as they dispatched Charleston, 62-59, for their second Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball victory in the last three games.

While the Cougars (8-7 CAA, 16-10 overall) did have a potential tying half-court shot bounce off the rim at the final buzzer, Delaware (2-13 CAA, 7-19) led for 38:33 of the contest. It was tied for the other 1:27.

Marvin King-Davis, the Hens’ only senior, wouldn’t call it an upset.Hens-King-Davis-CC by MARK JORDAN.

“It was no upset,” he said. “We came into the game knowing we could win. I felt like we let one get away down there (in a one-point loss). This one was much needed.”

“That felt good, we needed that one,” said sophomore guard Anthony Mosley. “I feel like the past few games we’ve been playing well. Today we were focusing on really finishing.”

Certainly, Delaware got big contributions from its usual top players: Kory Holden (17 points, four assists), King-Davis (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Mosley (12 points).

But, just as importantly, the Hens are starting to get important contributions from other guys now. On Thursday, Maurice Jeffers, Skye Johnson and Devonne Pinkard combined for 17 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Cazmon Hayes also contributed a career-high 10 rebounds, although he did score just one point.

“We got contributions across the board from different guys – which is what we needed,” said coach Monte’ Ross. “We didn’t have to rely on the big three.”

Ross was particularly happy to see Johnson back on the court. The 6-foot-8 sophomore had been sidelined since New Year’s Eve when he suffered a skull fracture when he was elbowed in the face in a game at Hofstra.

On Wednesday, Ross said he talked to Johnson about not expecting too much after missing 13 straight games.

“It takes some games to get your legs back up under you and to really start to get into a groove,” Ross told him. “He said, ‘Forget all that Coach.’ … He was a force in there. It was good to have him back.”

After leading by as many as 14 points in the first half, about the only bad thing the Hens did was let the Cougars sneak back within range at the end.

King-Davis missed a pair of free throws with 2.3 seconds left and that allowed Charleston’s Marquise Pointer to get off a good shot at the buzzer. The heave, from just over half-court, hit off the backboard and then the rim before finally falling away.

Ross was one of many people in the Carpenter Center who breathed a sigh of relief.

“The guy shoots the ball and it looks like it’s going in,” said Ross. “It’s like, ‘Oh goodness.’ ‘

Lately, though, the ball seems to be bouncing Delaware’s way.

Free throws

Holden, who hit 3-of-5 three-pointers, sat for parts of the second half with a leg injury. … King-Davis had his 12th double-double of the season. … With Johnson’s return, the Hens are back to having eight healthy scholarship players. … Delaware has won three straight home games with Charleston. … The Hens next play at James Madison on Saturday at 4 p.m.

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