Yesterday, I picked up my partner in crime Tieff and made the all too familiar drive down the New Jersey Turnpike/I-95 to Newark, Delaware. When we got to the Bob Carpenter Center at 2:00 P.M., I noticed that there were very few cars in the parking lot. Turns out what I thought was a 2:00 P.M. game was a 4:00 PM game being televised on the CAA Network. So we headed to a nearby McDonald's and then came back to the Bob at 3:00 PM.
Normally, I have the barbecue pork on the large sandwich roll. But my server convinced me to do the two smaller sandwich rolls, so this way I can have two different tasty choices. I chose the barbecue pork with the additional sweet sauce and the barbecue beef, with the gravy. They cut the beef and the turkey right there for you. Then comes the two sides. Nothing better than baked macaroni and cheese and german potato salad. Ah, heaven.
I never refer to the place the Fighting Blue Hens call as home the Acierno Arena. It's always been the Bob to me and to many others. It was the home of many America East Tournaments when Delaware was part of that conference. Now it's just another one of the twelve regular season venues in the CAA. The Fighting Blue Hens were home to the Rams of VCU in yesterday's contest. Many VCU fans made the trip up from Richmond. In fact in my row, it was mostly made up of Rams' fans. Have Final Four Appearance, will travel.
The game started out with VCU showing terrific ball movement on offense, but they didn't have much to show for it as they struggled for the field. In the first half, VCU shot an abysmal one of nine from beyond the arc and shot twenty eight percent from the field. Big Time Bradford Burgess was having a rough first half shooting one of seven from the field. But he hit seven of eight free throws and still had ten points in the first twenty minutes.
The Blue Hens didn't score a point for nearly the first nine minutes. But thanks to the Rams' shooting woes, they were only down 8-0. Then just like that Saddler and Anderson hit three pointers and it was a game at 8-6 with ten and a half minutes left.
The game was relatively close for the next several minutes. Then around four and half minutes left in the half, VCU went on a 9-2 spurt led by Burgess, Reddic and a technical foul called on Delaware Head Coach Monte Ross. The Rams were up 30-19. Delaware scored four straight points to cut the deficit to 30-23 at the half.
The start of the second half saw Josh Brinkley go to work for the Blue Hens. Twice Brinkley scored baskets on offensive rebounds and both times he was fouled. He made both free throws and hit one of two free throws on an earler foul as he scored Delaware's first seven points. Saddler followed with a layup and Delaware had cut VCU's lead to four, 36-32 with 15:50 left in the game.
Saddler scored four of Delaware's next six points and cut the lead to eight, 48-40 with a little less than ten minutes left. But it was as close as the Blue Hens would get the rest of the way. Saddler's shooting woes continued as he was two of ten from the field in the second half and only scored ten points on the day.
As Tieff and I made our way back to New York, it was another successful road trip. Terrific barbecue, delicious ice cream and good college basketball. Hoops and food. You can't beat it.