The Delaware Blue Coats came into their matchup on Friday, Dec. 9, against the Westchester Knicks looking to snap a two-game losing streak in front of their home crowd.
Unfortunately, that outcome was not in the cards, as Delaware squandered multiple second-half leads en route to their third straight loss, 113-108.
It was a back and forth battle between the Coats and the Knicks to kick off this game. Delaware entered the halftime locker room with a three point lead, but they were not done there.
The Blue Coats got off to a hot start in the second half, extending their lead to as many as 15 halfway through the third quarter. A big reason for this was Michael Foster’s aggression offensively.
Foster, who came into this matchup fifth on the team in scoring, dropped 22 points on 8-15 shooting while also corralling ten rebounds. As he usually does, Foster also got involved defensively, collecting two steals and also blocking one shot.
“I was for sure being aggressive based on looks they were giving me,” Foster said. “I’m not really looking to score, but when I’m wide open, of course I’ll take the shot.”
This was also a chippy game, specifically in the third quarter. Foster got into a scuffle with Westchester big man Garrison Brooks while backing up his teammate, Roddy Peters.
“I didn’t really get into it,” Foster said. “Roddy [Peters] got into it, and I’m his teammate, so I’m gonna back him up. And I’m bigger, so you’re not gonna push on little bro. I’m gonna be right there for him.”
The Knicks did not back down after falling behind, proceeding to go on a 15-6 run to close out the third period and cut the Blue Coats lead to just six.
A similar result ensued in the final frame. The Blue Coats were able to extend their lead to double digits yet again, leading by as many as ten with just under four minutes to play. The Knicks then went on a 17-2 run in the final minutes to close out the game and seal the victory.
Foster chimed in about what went wrong defensively in the second half that allowed the Knicks to put together multiple game-saving runs.
“Communication,” Foster said. “We got fatigued. They say fatigue makes a fool out of each other, so we have to get better there, and then just communicate when the time comes.”
Although this game will leave a shadow of gloom on the Blue Coats, there were some positive signs to take away.
Saben Lee, playing in just his third game with Delaware, shined once again, leading the Coats with 26 points on 9-17 shooting. This brings his points per game average with Delaware up to 25.3, the highest on the team, albeit in a small sample size.
Lee spoke after the game about how he’s been able to get acclimated into the Coats’ offense so quickly.
“I feel like that’s just who I am as a person and player,” Lee said. “I don’t want to just be a main scorer here, I want to be able to get people involved, and really just do whatever this team needs to win games, so I’m just gonna go back to the drawing board and figure out what it is I need to do to help this team win.”
Lee also gave a different perspective on what went wrong in the second half for the Coats.
“Transition defense,” Lee said. “Defensively, we could’ve done a little bit better in our coverages. Also offensively, just taking good shots. We were shooting a little early in the clock, we could’ve just milked the game with us being up like that.”
As previously mentioned, this loss extends the Blue Coats’ losing streak to three games after previously winning three out of four before this skid. Foster gave his two cents on what the team needs to do to get back into the win column.
“We just need to calm down during clutch time,” Foster said. “Play together, make the right plays. It’s basketball, we mess up, but it’s also a learning curve, so it’s two games at once.”
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