By 24/SEVENS | January 4, 2018


NEWARK, DE – JANUARY 3, 2018 – The Delaware 87ers (6-16) dropped a heartbreaker to the Erie BayHawks (10-13) 112-111 on Nickelodeon Night featuring SpongeBob SquarePants presented by Reybold Group to benefit CHILD, Inc. at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del. The Sevens led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but a relentless BayHawks team refused to go away. The game came down to a thrilling finish, with Erie’s Craig Sword sinking a go-ahead three-pointer with 1.6 seconds left to make the score 112-109. Delaware’s James Blackmon Jr. hit an off-balance corner shot as time expired, but the officials called it a two on the floor and stuck with the decision after reviewing it, meaning the 87ers lost by one point.

Here are three takeaways from the 87ers’ third meeting versus Erie this season:

That ending was as crazy as it gets

Delaware had multiple chances to put Erie away and it seemed like they were going to do it a few different times. Erie, however, had other plans and their players kept on plugging away. The BayHawks gave themselves a chance to win it at the end, and that’s exactly what they did. Josh Magette, the two-time reigning G League assist king, drew a double and found Craig Sword open for a three. Sword, who finished with 18 points, nailed the deep shot and gave the BayHawks the lead with 1.6 seconds left. Delaware used its final timeout, advanced the ball, called a great play where Askia Booker found James Blackmon Jr. in the corner and Blackmon Jr. drilled the shot. However, the official said Blackmon Jr.’s foot was on the line and confirmed the call upon review. Had the shot been a three, the Sevens and BayHawks would have gone into overtime for the second-straight meeting.

Delaware’s effort was much improved

Before the game, Head Coach Eugene Burroughs implored his team to put forth more of an effort than it did versus Santa Cruz on Tuesday, especially on defense. The team responded for most of the game by hitting threes (14-30 for the contest), getting to the line (19-25) and making life difficult for Erie point guard Josh Magette. However, the one stat that killed the Sevens was turnovers. The team had 26 cough-ups to just 13 for the BayHawks. Erie turned Delaware’s turnovers into 32 points, while the Sevens managed 18 points on the 13 Erie turns.

Ty Abbott and James Blackmon Jr. give Delaware a three-point threat

We’ve seen both Abbott and Blackmon Jr. hit big shots down the stretch for Delaware, but this was the first game where both showed up in clutch time. Abbott finished the game with 19 points and went 4-7 from three, while Blackmon Jr. outdid him to the tune of a game-high 24 points on 9-17 from the field and 4-8 from distance. Delaware is going to need consistent production from behind the line as the season continues, and having not one but two deep threats is going to help this team in a big way.

The 87ers hit the road to face the Greensboro Swarm on Friday, Jan. 5. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.