NEWARK, DE – 45 points, 14 rebounds and two assists. 19-26 from the field and 7-8 from the free-throw line.
It was a spectacular evening for Shawn Long, whose fifth double-double in the last six games powered the Delaware 87ers (11-9) to a 129-105 win over the visiting Erie BayHawks (6-14) on Star Wars Night at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del.
“He’s always been a scorer,” said Head Coach Eugene Burroughs. “In college, he was a double-double guy and he was pretty much a post player and scored around the basket a lot.
“Today, I think he was really effective. He was around the rim; he’s a big-bodied kid. He was rolling to the rim, getting some easy put-backs and offensive rebounds, so the game tonight came easy for him. He was able to make some strong post moves when his confidence was really high and he had a great game.”
The Sevens not only put up a season-high in points, they also added 28 assists on 47 made field goals. Delaware scored more than 30 points in the first, second and fourth quarters. In the third, the 87ers put up 29 points.
After jumping out to a 31-22 lead after the first period, Delaware extended their lead to 14 by halftime. The Sevens went into intermission up 63-49, getting to 63 thanks to a three at the first-half buzzer from Devondrick Walker, who finished second on the team in scoring with 19.
At the outset of the third, the BayHawks, the second-lowest scoring team in the D-League hit their first five shots and got to within 67-63 after a few minutes had passed. Walker managed to hit a few big threes, and the Sevens kept Erie at bay. After a dicey beginning to the frame, Delaware kept their lead mostly intact and went into the fourth quarter up by 15.
“My message to the guys is ‘we gotta come out and throw the first punch’ cause we have a tendency to come out in the third and be a little sluggish and slow,” said Burroughs. “They came back and I think it was like a four-point game and then we turned around, made our second run and started moving the basketball. That has been a big emphasis for us is low turnovers and high assists, and today I think we accomplished that.”
Once the fourth began, the game belonged to the Sevens and, more specifically, Long. The Louisiana-Lafayette product had 22 points in the first half, but bested that with a 23-point effort in the second half. His last basket came on a follow slam, and he exited shortly after to loud cheers from the biggest crowd the Sevens have had this year (2,203).