CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Devon Saddler had 15 points, including several clutch free throws down the stretch as Delaware defeated Virginia, 59-53, on Tuesday night.
With the victory, Delaware advances to the NIT Tip-Off semifinals, which will be held at Madison Square Garden in New York City next week.Saddler's two free throws with 14.6 seconds left in the game pushed the Blue Hens' lead to five and all but sealed the game.Jarvis Threatt added 14 points for Delaware (2-1). Jamelle Higgins had 10 points.Virginia (1-2) was led by Joe Harris' 20 points.Delaware shot just 43 percent (20 of 47) from the field, but held Virginia to 35 percent (20 of 57), including just 19 percent (4 of 21) from 3-point range.Delaware started the second half strong. Threatt scored five points during an 8-2 run that put the Blue Hens up 35-17, their largest lead of the game.Virginia battled back, responding with a 10-0 run that was highlighted by the play of sophomore Darion Atkins, who scored seven of the points.Virginia took its first lead since 6-4 when freshman Evan Nolte hit a 3-pointer to put the Cavaliers up 42-41.But Delaware answered right back with an 8-0 run, courtesy of two Saddler 3-pointers, to take a 49-42 lead.Neither team shot well to start the game. After 7 minutes of play, the teams had combined for just three field goals. At one juncture, Virginia had more turnovers (eight) than points (six).But Delaware started getting better looks at the basket and went on a 17-5 run that was capped by a layup by Hagins to take a 19-11 lead. Virginia was 0 of 9 from 3-point range in the half.The Blue Hens led 28-15 at the break.