The fifth-seeded Delaware Blue Hens defeated No. 12 seed Towson Tigers by a score of 72-65 in the first round of the 2012 Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball tournament on Friday afternoon. With the win, the Blue Hens are now set to take on No. 4 seed Old Dominion Monarchs in the quarterfinal round on Saturday afternoon. After pulling out to a 36-25 halftime lead and limiting Towson to just 21.2 percent shooting, Delaware allowed the Tigers to work their way back into the game in the second half, but eventually sealed the victory with 11 free throws and a dunk to finish up on a 13-8 run.
To say Towson's season has been a disappointment would be a gross understatement. The loss moved them to 1-31 overall, but it's hard to blame senior forward Robert Nwankwo in this one. He finished the game with an absurd line of 27 points and 20 rebounds (including 12 offensive boards). However, only one other player scored in double figures -- guard Kris Walden, who added 13 points -- and the team shot just 33.8 percent from the floor.
Nwankwo destroyed Delaware on the glass, but sophomore guard Devon Saddler managed to match him in the scoring department for the Blue Hens. Saddler poured in a game-high 28 points and iced the game from the free throw line at the finish, while teammate Josh Brinkley contributed 14 points on 5-8 shooting.
To make up for the 48-27 deficit in rebounding, Delaware took great care of the ball (six turnovers), forced turnovers on the defensive end (10 steals) and converted their chances at the free-throw line (27-38 as a team). The quarterfinal matchup between Delaware and Old Dominion is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday afternoon.
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