The Delaware Fightin’ Hens are dancing in March after their thrilling 75-74 win over William & Mary in the CAA Championship game. This was the closest game of the entire tournament in front of the largest crowd at Baltimore Arena.With 1:16 left on the clock, William & Mary’s Omar Prewitt knocked down a huge three pointer giving his team a 74-68 team and quickly prompting Monte Ross to call timeout.
Just ten seconds later, senior Devon Saddler drew a foul and made both free throws, the deficit was cut to four. William & Mary’s Omar Prewitt missed the front end of a 1 and 1 situation and Carl Baptiste hauled in his 8th rebound of the game to give Delaware possession. Seven seconds after that the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, Jarvis Threatt, knocked down a jump shot while getting fouled and then made the free throw. With the score 74-73 William & Mary put the ball in the hands of their leader and All-CAA guard, Marcus Thornton, who missed a tough jumper. With 12.8 seconds left on the clock, Carl Baptiste got the call and delivered on a tough bucket in the paint to give Delaware their first lead of the last five minutes. A last second shot from Thornton clanked off the iron and Delaware was CAA Champs.
Monte Ross said that he wanted the ball to be in senior guard, Devon Saddler’s hands for the last play, but it was Saddler who told Ross to go to Baptiste. “He’s my best friend,” said Baptiste when asked how he felt about Saddler’s suggestion for the ball to be in his hands. Baptiste finished with a new career-high 24 points, shooting 9-11 from the floor. He stepped up big when Davon Usher and Devon Saddler, the two leading scorers all season for Delaware were struggling. Usher still finished with 8 points and 10 rebounds, while Saddler hit 16 for the second-straight night. But again Jarvis Threatt stepped up scoring 18 points on 7-11 shooting and known were bigger than the three-point play with 51 seconds left.
The crazy game featured nine lead changes and a often shift of emotions from the 5,414 fans at Baltimore Arena. William & Mary played well enough to win the game, but shot just 3-11 from the free throw line. Free throw shooting was a key factor for many teams throughout the four day tournament.