WILMINGTON- The Blue Coats returned home to begin their regular season schedule on Wednesday. The Capital City Go-Go visited the Chase Center after the annual G-League Winter Showcase wrapped up last week in Orlando.
The Winter Showcase is a unique concept in the G-League that is focused on giving the over 200 G-League players as much exposure to NBA executives as they can in hopes of landing a call-up or 10-day contract as the NBA season progresses. Here’s how it works.
The opening 14-games of the season are exclusively for the Winter Showcase. The G-League is separated into 4 regional pods and a round robin schedule is played. The top 4 teams in each pod, as well as the next top 4 teams from any region qualify for the tournament for a field of 20 teams. The remaining teams each get two games at the Showcase so they too can have their players highlighted.
The Blue Coats finished Showcase play with a 9-7 record after defeating the Texas Legends 133-129 in game one before falling to the South Bay Lakers 128-126 in Orlando.
Game one 1 of the 34-game regular season came heavily anticipated as recently acquired Kenneth Lofton Jr. made his Blue Coats debut. The 6-6 275 pound 21-year-old comes to the Coats with NBA experience after playing 39 games for the Memphis Grizzlies the past two seasons.
He joins a loaded rotation that includes fellow two-way players Terquavion Smith and Ricky Council, as well as standouts Javonte Smart, Darius Bazley, Melvin Frazier Jr., and Patrick McCaw.
The first half of this game was tight with 6 ties and 6 lead changes before the Coats went on a 7-0 run in the final 80 seconds of the half to take a 58-49 lead into the break. Terquavion Smith led Delaware with a dozen at the break while Ricky Council and Darius Bazley netted 11 points for the Coats. Former Kansas standout, Devon Dotson impressed for the Go-Go scoring 12 first half points and hitting 2 threes.
The third quarter was a quarter of runs. The Go-Go’s started the half off on a 14-2 run to take a brief 63-60 lead in the first 3 minutes. Dotson once again sparked Capital City scoring 7 during the run.
The Blue Coats immediately answer with a 9-0 run themselves to retake the lead and only extend it from there. After a timeout, the Coats extended their lead to a dozen after another 7-2 run. When all was said and done after three quarters Delaware led 97-80 after 3 quarters of play. 5 Delaware players were in double figures led by Kenneth Lofton’s 18 points, he netted 10 in the quarter.
The Go-Go would erupt for 46 fourth quarter points, but it wasn’t enough as the Blue Coats would come away with a 134-126 victory.
Devon Dotson and Hamidou Diallo led the Go-Go with 30 and 28 points respectively.
Delaware collected 4-players with 20+ points led by Lofton’s 30 to go with 8 rebounds. Council finished with 23 points and 7 rebounds and a few spectacular jams. Smart was an efficient 9-14 from the field for his 23, while Terquavion Smith scored 21 despite a poor 2-10 shooting night from beyond the arc. Darius Bazley impressed with 18, 9 and 4. The Blue Coats shot 16-38 from beyond the arc and nailed 19-25 free throws.
Delaware starts their regular season off with a victory and will now head to Portland to take on the Rip City Remix for a double header on Dec. 30 & Dec. 31. They’ll return home in 2024 when the Westchester Knicks visit on Jan. 5.
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