It was a slow start for the Delaware Blue Coats on Thursday night. A slow start, but a thrilling finish.
Two early fouls by rookie forward Michael Foster Jr. would slow the Blue Coats down on both ends of the court. He checked out after nearly two minutes into the game. Foster’s absence would allow the Go-Go’s to jump out to an early thirteen-to-five lead, led by NBA veteran Kris Dunn.
After a Delaware timeout the Blue Coats went on an 18-0 run. McClung sparked the team on offense, by attacking and pushing the ball in transition. Delaware was able to force turnovers and long rebounds in order to push the pace offensively. After one the teams were tied at 31. Jaden Springer was able to get out in transition to ignite the run. He would finish the night with 28 points on nine of 15 shooting, six assists five rebounds, and 2 steals.
In the second quarter, the Blue Coats locked in defensively allowing 20 points in the quarter. At half the team had seven steals and forced a total of 11 turnovers. The team held the Go Go’s to three of fifteen shooting from beyond the arc at half.
Offensively the Blue Coats was able to take care of the basketball with only six turnovers at half. Foster was able to add to the offense in the second quarter with 12 at the half. He only played 11 minutes in the first because of foul trouble.
In the third, the offense went stale for most of the quarter only scoring 20 points in the quarter. The team was one of two of 10 from deep in the quarter, and three of five from the line. The Go-Go’s went three of six from beyond the arc in the quarter.
The Blue Coats led by four with more than three minutes to play. When the team needed it most they could not get a stop on defense. Delaware was outscored 16-8 in the final 3:11 of the game. Go-Go’s Quenton Jackson had six points a rebound and a steal in the final minutes of the game. Jackson led all Go-Go’s in points and rebounds, with 24 and seven respectively.
A late three from Michael Foster Jr. pulled the game within two with 3.3 seconds left on the clock. Foster finished with 23 points on nine of 13 shooting, and two of four from beyond the arc. After a foul Devon Dotson went to the line and put the game away by making both free throw attempts. The final score was 120-116.
Delaware led for most of the night but missed key shots in the final two minutes and had two turnovers in the final 30 seconds of the game. After the game, forward Justin Smith said, “success isn’t linear, it’s going to be up and down, I think we can take away some things from this game”
The Blue Coats’ transition defense was poor to start allowing the Go Go’s to push the ball in transition off long rebounds and turnovers. The team committed 13 total turnovers and was outrebounded 45-38. “We couldn’t stop the bleeding once they got going, we gave up a lot of easy buckets and a lot of second-chance points”, said Smith.
Despite the loss, there were bright spots.
Jaden Springer was simply the best player on the floor — on either team — for most of the night. He was aggressive in attacking the basket. “When you attack it opens up for my teammates and myself, and throughout the game it builds momentum and toughness for us”, Springer said after the game. He was still a little hesitant at times from deep, though he finished two of six from beyond the arc.
The Delaware Blue Coats are now 1-2 to start the season. “Chemistry is the biggest thing right now we’re three games in after tonight so we’re not really beating ourselves over the head we know we have to work on [closing] games out”, said Springer.
The team will play the Capital City Go-Go’s again in its next game on Saturday at the Chase Fieldhouse.