WILMINGTON- Long Island was scorching the nets on Saturday night at the Chase Fieldhouse as they would defeat the Blue Coats 125-117. The Nets were able to overcome 21 turnovers with a spectacular shooting display as a team that included 47-80 from the field, highlighted by a red hot 18-31 from beyond the arc.
Long Island led throughout the game. After a tied first quarter, the Nets would win the remaining 3 quarters. Six different Nets players would score in double figures led by Kennedy Chandler’s (Tennessee) 25 points. A few other standouts for Long Island were 2023 Brooklyn Nets draft picks, Dariq Whitehead (11 points in 21 minutes) and Noah Clowney (15 points, 11 rebounds), and a red-hot Armoni Brooks (Houston). Brooks, on a two-way contract with the Brooklyn Nets, would carry the Nets in a pivotal third quarter, scoring 17 of his 22 points and hitting all 5 of his three-point attempts.
Those 17-points were crucial as the Blue Coats would come alive in the third quarter and tried to make a push scoring 32 points in the frame. The Coats would shoot 6-11 from deep, their most efficient shooting quarter of the game, but Brooks’ ability to nail huge shots would keep the Nets ahead and carry a 4-point lead into the 4th quarter.
Delaware would battle in this game, but without three key rotational players, Marcus Bagley, Patrick McCaw, and Melvin Frazier Jr., the Coats just couldn’t get over the hump.
Ricky Council continues to flourish as the lead guy in Delaware. The two-way star scored 32 points in a multitude of ways, including 6-10 from deep. Council’s ability to score at all three levels, along with his freakish athleticism and size, could lead him to be the first call-up to the 76ers if an injury were to happen.
The Coats were also led on the score sheet by their other two-way stars, Javonte Smart (26 points, 9 assists) and despite a poor shooting night, Terquavion Smith (17 points, 7 assists). Smith only shot 7-21 and 3-12 from deep. Newcomer Darius Bazley impressed in his home debut, scoring 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Bazley was the 23rd overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Bazley was committed to Syracuse but took advantage of the new rule allowing players the chance to play in G-League for a year before becoming draft eligible.
Bazley has had a solid NBA career thus far. In four seasons with the Thunder and Suns, Bazley has career averages of 9.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Bazley does not have any rights tying him to a franchise, which means if he continues to shine, any NBA team can call him up.
Speaking of call-ups, a player that had been a standout in Delaware, David Duke Jr. has been called up to the San Antonio Spurs this week. Duke was averaging 21.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 11 games for the Coats. A huge loss for Delaware, but tremendous accomplishment for Duke.
Delaware drops to 8-6 on the season, while Long Island improves to 8-6. The Coats now will have 10 days off and will return to action 12/27 at the Chase Fieldhouse when the Capital City Go-Go comes to town.
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