Hagins, Delaware outlast Drexel in double OT

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Hagins, Delaware outlast Drexel in double OT

BOX SCORE

NEWARK, Del. -- Jamelle Hagins had had enough. Already with 14 points, 18 rebounds and 42 minutes on the floor, he wanted no more.

The clock read 3.7 seconds late in the second overtime against Drexel with Delaware up by two. Drexel's inbounds pass went to Frantz Massenat, who took the ball upcourt for the Dragons, drove the lane and got off a decent, yet off-balance, shot at the buzzer.

But Hagins was there to challenge him and deflect the ball just enough, perhaps as it was already on its way down. No matter -- the referees' whistles remained silent and Hagins secured a 73-71 victory for his Blue Hens at Bob Carpenter Center (see Instant Replay).

"I just didn't want it to go into a third overtime, so I had to do something," Hagins said. "I definitely got a piece of it."

On the final stat sheet, Hagins wasn't officially credited with a block, and if you asked Drexel coach Bruiser Flint what he thought about that, he'd agree.

"It looked like goaltending from where I was, to be honest with you," Flint said. "I think Jamelle Hagins will tell you he goaltended, but I'm not a ref."

Well, Jamelle, did you?

"Oh yeah," he said. "I definitely did."

"No, you didn't. It was on its way up," Delaware coach Monté Ross quickly interjected. "He got hit in the head. He's concussed."

It was all laughs and smiles after the game for the Blue Hens, who improved to 14-13 overall and 10-5 in the CAA to move into a second-place tie with Towson.

Flint's attitude was understandably the opposite, as his Dragons -- preseason favorites to win the conference -- remained stuck in seventh place as they fell to 11-16, 7-8.

"I thought our guys battled," Flint said. "We got into unbelievable foul trouble. I had half my team on the bench. ... They called a lot of fouls on us today. They won the game from the foul line, pretty much. Did they make any baskets in the overtimes?"

In fact, the Blue Hens made just three shots -- all layups -- in the extra sessions, meaning only six of 21 post-regulation points came from the field. The rest were scored at the charity stripe, where they converted 15 of 21 attempts in the overtimes, and 29 of 42 tries overall.

Delaware made more free throws than Drexel took in the game. The Dragons, who committed 32 fouls to the Blue Hens' 18, finished the night with 15 for 21 from the line. Four Drexel players fouled out.

For the Hens, no bucket may have been bigger than Devon Saddler's easy layup to break a 67-67 deadlock with 1:58 left in the second OT. The deuce came just 16 seconds after Saddler had coughed up the ball to Massenat, but as the Drexel guard drove the ball the other way and attempted to lay it in, 6-foot-2 Jarvis Threatt emphatically denied him and secured his own block. He then fed it to Saddler, who was still recovering at the other end of the floor.

Saddler finished with a game-high 31 points -- one shy of his career-best mark -- on 9-for-14 shooting. He sank 11 of 15 free throws and logged 49 minutes of game time.

The 148th meeting between the two schools was just the second to ever go into double overtime, and the first since the 1936-37 season. It also marked the second time the Blue Hens, who lead the all-time series 76-72, defeated the Dragons this year. On Jan. 28 in Philadelphia, Delaware nearly blew a 15-point lead with less than five minutes to go before escaping with a 66-64 win.

"Seems like Groundhog Day -- just your regular, run-of-the-mill Drexel-Delaware game," Ross remarked jokingly after the game. "I think what you saw today is what college athletics is all about -- two teams playing their hearts out for, forever, it seemed like."

In the win, Hagins, whose big game-ending play capped an incredible double-double day, became the seventh active Division I player to reach the 1,000-rebound mark. He entered the contest at 999 and upped the total to 1,017.

"People don't realize what he's done. He's just amazing," Ross said. "To score 1,000 points and then grab 1,000 rebounds ... I'll tell you what. If you'd have told me when he got on campus that he was going to score 1,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds, I would've bet you anything that you were crazy.

"But his progression has been tremendous and I'm glad he's on our team."

Hagins, a senior, will be on the team for at least four more games, the next which will come Saturday at UNC-Wilmington. The Blue Hens will then wrap up the regular season at Hofstra and home against George Mason before the CAA tournament commences.

Drexel is next on the road again Saturday at Towson. As it stands now, with the Dragons in seventh and the Hens in second, a third matchup in the postseason is possible. It last occurred in 2008.

Villanova returns to top of AP poll after a week away

Villanova returns to top of AP poll after a week away

It didn't take long for Villanova to get back to the top of the AP top 25.

A week, to be exact.

The 'Cats jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 in this week's AP poll, edging out No. 2 Kansas by just 16 total voting points. Villanova had 1,580 total points compared to the 1,562 total points the No. 2 Jayhawks received from voters.

In a twist, the 16-1 Jayhawks actually had more first-place votes than the 17-1 Wildcats. Kansas received 32 first-place votes compared to Villanova's 28 first-place votes. But total votes are the deciding factor, so, advantage: Wildcats.

UCLA hopped up to No. 3, Gonzaga jumped up to No. 4 and Kentucky checked in at No. 5 to round out this week's top five.

Baylor, the No. 1 team in the land last week, fell to No. 6 after it was blown out by No. 7 West Virginia.

Beginning on Dec. 5, Villanova was No. 1 for five straight weeks before falling at No. 13 Butler on Jan. 5 and seeing a 20-game win streak come to an end.

Jay Wright's Wildcats blew past No. 22 Xavier and St. John's last week, but will face another Big East test when 12-5 Seton Hall visits The Pavilion on Monday night. The last time Villanova and Seton Hall met, the Pirates upset the Wildcats at MSG in the final of last season's Big East Tournament.

The Wildcats' schedule this week is closed out with a visit from Providence on Saturday afternoon.

Villanova's Donte DiVincenzo the next Josh Hart? Jay Wright believes so

Villanova's Donte DiVincenzo the next Josh Hart? Jay Wright believes so

NEW YORK — It’s hard to imagine higher praise from Jay Wright.

“I think he can be a Josh Hart,” Wright said. “I really do.”

Donte DiVincenzo is only two months into his redshirt freshman season at Villanova, and his coach is already comparing him to one of the heroes of last year’s NCAA championship team and a 2017 National Player of the Year candidate.

That’s pretty wild stuff, but it’s hard to argue with Wright.

The last two games have been a coming out for DiVincenzo, a Wilmington, Delaware native who played high school ball at Salesianum.

After scoring 20 points and shooting 5 for 17 in Villanova’s first four Big East games, DiVincenzo was 4 for 6 for 10 points with four rebounds and three assists Tuesday in a win over No. 15 Xavier at The Pavilion. On Saturday at Madison Square Garden — with his teammates all struggling from the field — he shot 7 for 10 from the field and 3 for 5 from three-point range for a career-high 19 points to go with three rebounds and two assists in the Wildcats’ win over St. John’s (see game recap).

Hart as a freshman? 7.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 21 minutes per game.

DiVincenzo so far as a freshman? 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 23 minutes per game.

DiVincenzo has been so good in these last two wins that, even coming off the bench, he’s played the third most minutes on the team – 31 ½ per game.

Josh Hart-esque.

“I talked to him about that before,” Wright said. “Just what impresses us so much about Josh is that he’s just complete. He does everything. There’s nothing on the basketball court he doesn’t do, and I think Donte can be that kind of player, too.”

On Saturday at the Garden, Villanova got off to another slow start. Ten minutes into the game, the Wildcats were shooting 2 for 12 from the field and 1 for 7 from three-point range and trailed by six.

It sure seemed DiVincenzo sensed how badly the Wildcats needed an offensive lift, because he proceeded to make four baskets in a five-minute stretch, including two confident looks from 3.

Those 10 points keyed a 16-6 run that gave ‘Nova the lead for good.

But DiVincenzo, echoing dozens of Villanova players from years past, said he never thinks offensively.

“No, not at all,” he said. “I don’t feel pressure offensively at all. Just focus on defending and rebounding. If the shots are falling for me, great. But if they’re not, just get back and focus on those two things.”

DiVincenzo is a freshman but did play in eight games last year before breaking his foot and sitting out the rest of the year. He did travel with the Wildcats and was on the bench during the NCAA title run.

Now, he’s the biggest surprise on the No. 3 team in the country. Villanova takes a 17-1 record and 4-1 Big East mark into a game Monday night at The Pavilion against Seton Hall, their first meeting since the Pirates beat the Wildcats in last year’s Big East title game.

Think about it.

‘Nova is down two players who Wright expected to be huge parts of this year’s team — title game hero Phil Booth, who's hurt and not expected back this year, and Amari Spellman, whom the NCAA ruled ineligible.

“We’re trying to get to a certain level of play,” Wright said. “We’re trying to figure ourselves out here. We thought we were going to be one kind of team earlier in the season and we lost a couple guys. We like our team, but we’re still trying to figure it out. We’re not a finished product yet.”

In six Big East games, DiVincenzo is averaging 8.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

No Villanova freshman has averaged 8.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in conference play since Lance Miller in 1990.

Overall, DiVincenzo is eighth among Big East freshmen in scoring, seventh in minutes, rebounding, assists and three-point shooting.

And trending upward.

“We’re really excited about him,” Wright said. “He’s doing everything for us. He’s playing point, he’s playing two-guard, he’s playing the three, he’s rebounding, defending, and that’s the kind of players you like to have.

“He’s only a freshman, and he works hard at it. Those two (DiVincenzo and Hart) compete against each other at practice, and he’s got the same competitiveness, so it’s exciting for us. We’re really fired up.

“And you’ve got to do it in games. We all know it’s going to come sometimes, but you’ve got to do it in games. Do it in the Garden? Against a tough aggressive team? Did it in the Xavier game? That’s big-time.”