Late game heroics lead Delaware Blue Coats to victory over Maine Celtics

Mac McClung goes for a three. McClung's three in the game on Tuesday night led the Blue Coats to victory. Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. - Staff Photographer / Tyrese Williams

With less than three seconds on the clock, Mac McClung became the hero in Wilmington when he hit a game winning three to send the Delaware Blue Coats home happy with a 125-123 victory over the Maine Celtics on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

“It felt good,” McClung said. “It wasn’t the prettiest of wins but we’re relieved to get that win under our belt and just get some momentum going.”

Prior to Tuesday’s win, the Blue Coats had dropped their first two games to the Celtics this season, one being a 49 point loss on the road. 

“We played them the first time and they beat us bad,” Blue Coats’ guard Julian Champagnie said. “This time coming around you know I came back and I was like ‘alright I wanna win with my teammates now they’ve been playing hard and I haven’t been here so let me give them my all and they’re gonna give their all’ so it’s a big win for us.”

Champagnie led the team in scoring with 34 points and added nine rebounds. McClung followed suit, tallying 18 points and ten assists for his first double-double of the season.

“That’s one thing I take pride in is getting guys like Julian [Champagine] going and making sure he’s getting the shots,” McClung said. “Saben [Lee] and Pat [Patrick McCaw] and CBJ [Charles Brown Jr.]… I take pride in making sure they’re playing well as well.”

In his Blue Coats debut, Saben Lee was a key contributor, filling the stat sheet with 22 points, six rebounds and five assists in 37 minutes of play. Brown Jr. also contributed with his first double-double of the season, tallying ten points and ten rebounds in 25 minutes of play.

“It’s big time,” McClung said. “They’re elite players… I think good players like playing with good players so it’s great to have them.”

The Blue Coats found themselves in a 14-point hole with eight minutes to go in the game when Champagnie went on his own 8-0 run to spark their comeback against the top team in the G League East.

“First and foremost, my teammates give me a lot of confidence to shoot the basketball and they trust me to put the basketball in the hoop,” Champagnie said. “Obviously an 8-0 run is not possible without their passes and them trusting me so I give it to them… It’s the G League, 14 gets cut quick and I think we did just that so the encouraging words, some big buckets and good teammates that kind of pulled us along.”

This win instilled the team with confidence and gave the rest of the league a glimpse at what these players believe they are capable of.

“It just shows you our potential,” McClung said. “It’s just gonna be a matter of if we can be consistent and keep growing, because I think we’re growing as a team each day.”

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