Slow start, undisciplined play lead to Blue Hens’ downfall

Horton NE
Courtesy of Delaware Athletics
Ithiel Horton sizes up a defender in Delaware’s game against Northeastern.

BY
Senior Reporter

A roller coaster season continues for the Blue Hens.

The university’s men’s basketball team lost to Northeastern Huskies 75-64, Thursday night. It was the penultimate game of the regular season before the start of the CAA tournament. With the loss, the Blue Hens fell to 16-14 on the season and have won only three of their last 10.

Northeastern had beaten the Blue Hens in three out of the last four games coming into Thursday. Right from opening tip-off, the Huskies came out with a greater sense of urgency, jumping out to a 6-0 lead less than a minute in.

Delaware would come storming back to take an 8-6 lead soon thereafter, thanks in part to a pair of three-pointers from Ithiel Horton, who posted 16 points on the night. This would be the Blue Hens’ only lead of the night, and it would dissipate roughly 20 seconds later, courtesy of Northeastern’s Bolden Brace, who recorded 16 points of his own.

“Northeastern played really well tonight and made some timely threes that hurt us,” Head Coach Martin Ingelsby said. “We battled and got some good looks in the second half, but just missed. We had the game right where we wanted it on our home floor, but could never tie it or take the lead. I thought our guys were fearless and really went after it, but the ball just didn’t go in the basket.”

In the next several minutes both teams engaged in an offensive back and forth with the Huskies maintaining a constant lead but never running away with the game. Further impeding their chances for a comeback was Delaware’s undisciplined play ― they received 17 fouls, and Northeastern made the most of it going 9-15 on free throws.

A nice individual effort from Northeastern’s Jordan Roland got his team back on track after briefly losing the momentum, putting the Huskies on top 11-8. Horton later managed to weave his way through the defense to set up Carter to make the score 26-19 in favor of Northeastern. Matt Veretto would add a three pointer of his own, assisted by Darian Bryant. Five completed free throws from the Huskies in the final two minutes gave them a 38-33 lead going into half time.

In the second half, the Blue Hens played with more urgency, matching Northeastern blow-for-blow in the first six minutes, bringing the score within an arm’s length, 50-48. A prolonged stalemate marked by quality scoring chances and masterful defensive plays persisted around the midway point of the half, with both teams coming tantalizingly close.

“We guarded, we defended, we got a little tired at the end and they got open for a couple,” Ingelsby said. “We were going back and forth between man and zone, that group was really grinding we got a couple stops and got some great looks.”

Delaware, however could not capitalize on their chances and Northeastern’s Anthony Green finally broke the tension with a two-pointer. The Huskies took an iron grip on the game and never looked back after that. Despite the loss, the Blue Hens managed to earn a first-round bye in the upcoming CAA tournament slated to begin March 9.

Prior to the game, Delaware’s Eric Carter was awarded with a commemorative ball recognizing his personal milestone of recording 1,000 career points. He added 12 more during the night, good for third highest on the team.

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