WILMINGTON- The Blue Coats entered their game with the Long Island Nets on the seasonal see-saw at 3-3. Despite the cold weather finally hitting the Wilmington area this week, the Blue Coats brought the heat with a 14-0 run to start the 4th quarter in route to a 119-104 victory on Wednesday night.
After a back and forth first three quarters, Delaware took an 82-77 lead into the fourth quarter, and that’s when they erupted. There were three’s by Terquavion Smith & Javonte Smart, fast-break layups off great defense, beautiful half-court offense leading to a layup by Melvin Frazier Jr., and a tough fade away jumper on the baseline by Smith as the Blue Coats went on a 14-0 run.
The run just kicked off what was an elite fourth quarter by the Coats. The defensive intensity just rose, forcing six Nets turnovers in the fourth quarter. For reference, Long Island only turned the ball over seven times in the first three quarters.
This entire run was even more impressive because it was while a hot Ricky Council was on the bench. Council had himself a career night with 32 points, half of which happened in the second quarter when the Blue Coats were in need of a spark. Delaware trailed by as many as 14-points in the first half before Council just took over. Most of his points were accumulated by tough drives through the lane and finding a way of finishing within 3-feet of the rim through contact & tough defense. Council shot 14-20 on the night, including a cold 1-5 from 3-point range.
David Duke also had himself a night, scoring 23. The former Providence guard hit 3-7 from deep on the night, 8-18 overall while adding 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Former LSU guard Javonte Smart continued to shine as well with 23 points of his own. With only 2 points at the break on 1-6 shooting, Smart would score 8 points in the last four and a half minutes of the third quarter to get himself going. Smart also finished with 8 assists on the night, setting his teammates up with great passes all night.
Melvin Frazier (17 points, 13 rebounds) & Terquavion Smith (16 points) also contributed in double figures. It was the first poor shooting night for Smith in the Chase Fieldhouse, who only connected on two of nine shots from three-point range.
The 22nd overall pick in this years’ NBA Draft, Dariq Whitehead (Duke) got a start for the Nets as he recovers from a second surgery from a nagging foot injury. Whitehead played 14 minutes on the night and contributed just 6 points.
Long Island had 5 players score in double figures led by second year guard Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee & Memphis Grizzlies). Chandler shot 8-11 overall including 5-8 from deep for his team high 21 points. Nets 2023 2nd round pick, Jalen Wilson (Kansas) also impressed with 19 points and 8 rebounds, while 2021 1st round pick, Keon Johnson (Tennessee) added 17 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
The Blue Coats now sit at 4-3 on the season and play next on Saturday, December 2nd as they welcome the Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte Hornets Affiliate) into the Chase Fieldhouse for a 6pm tip-off.
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