Delaware Blue Coats win third straight game in walk-off fashion

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Jarron Cumberland rises to the rim. The 26-year-old cashed in the game-winner on Friday, Feb. 9 against the Spurs. - Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024. - Photo via Payton Tuorto

The Delaware Blue Coats kept the train rolling on Friday, Feb. 9 by defeating the Austin Spurs 125-123 in walk-off fashion at Chase Fieldhouse to secure their third consecutive victory.

The win was definitely earned for the Coats, who found themselves down by 23 at halftime.

“We were all quiet, we were upset with the score and everything,” Jarron Cumberland said. “We just stayed together, and knew what it’d take to win.”

Stay together they did, as Delaware came all the way back by outscoring Austin by 15 in the third and 8 in the fourth to tie it up at 118 and force overtime. In the extra period, the Coats won the race to 125 points and sealed the deal with an acrobatic layup by Cumberland that sent the Coats’ bench and Chase Fieldhouse into a frenzy.

“I felt that they were sagging off, so I was just catching it on the run,” Cumberland said. “I was getting a lot of fouls, so I was just playing aggressive and getting in the paint.”

Head Coach Mike Longabardi was very pleased with how his team responded coming out of the break.

“The second half was really good, the first half not so good,” Longabardi said. “They had more energy than us, I thought they drove the ball more aggressively than we did. We just weren’t in sync, and I think it showed. But give our guys credit; they fought, the game is 48 minutes long, and that’s our first win in overtime which is also nice… I just told them ‘We have to find different ways to win.’ Tonight was one of those ways.”

The Blue Coats couldn’t have done it without Darius Bazley’s monster performance. The 23-year-old punished the Spurs with 36 points on 16-28 shooting, chipping in nine rebounds in the process. It wasn’t just the offensive end where Bazley contributed though, as he also flashed his defensive upside with three blocks and four steals.

With two-way players Ricky Council IV, Terquavion Smith, and Kenneth Lofton Jr. currently with the 76ers, Longabardi is seeking help from the entirety of the roster, but the former first-round pick has shown the ability to be able to carry the offense.

“Right now we’re doing it by committee, we’re getting a lot of help from a lot of others,” Longabardi said. “But tonight was his night. He was super aggressive, and when he’s like that we’re hard to deal with.”

In Cumberland’s eyes, there is a clear reason why the Coats, who currently sit in first place in the Eastern Conference at 11-5, have still found success even with many of their high-minute players being out of the lineup in recent weeks.

“Being together, playing as a group,” Cumberland said. “From practice to the games, just communicating with each other.”

The Coats are rolling, but their mindset will now shift towards tomorrow night in a rematch with the Spurs, who will certainly be looking to avenge this crushing loss.

“We’re business as usual, we’re in a good flow and rhythm,” Longabardi said. “We have our routine. Now this will be back-to-back, we’ll watch the film, we’ll get our pregame in and then we’ll watch the film again and go out and play.”

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