In their first game of the 2018-2019 season, the Delaware Blue Hens nearly upended the nationally touted Maryland Terrapins on the back of big man Eric Carter, who, in the best game of his career, put on a brilliant display of post moves, interior defense and shooting.
The Blue Hens trailed by as many as 22 early in the second half. Using a 12-0 run midway through the half, Delaware eventually cut Maryland’s lead to three after Jacob Cushing knocked down a three-pointer with 1:27 remaining.
Maryland closed the game strong defensively and hit three of four free throws down the stretch to hold on and defeat Delaware 73-67.
Below is a player-by-player look at Delaware’s performance. Each player is given a grade on a scale of one to five stars, relative to their level of expectation. The grades are unscientific and an entirely subjective measure, designed to give a small glimpse into how each player is performing game-to-game.
Eric Carter Five Stars
35 minutes, 29 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assists
Carter had one of the best single-game performances by a Blue Hen in recent memory. The 6’9’’ forward had everything going offensively, hitting a pair of fadeaway bank shots, a few running hooks, putting a couple back in off the offensive glass and even stepping out and knocking down his first career three. He scored efficiently, hitting 12 of his 14 attempts. Carter also passed well out of the post, setting up opportunities on the perimeter that Delaware’s guards were unable to take advantage of.
Defensively, Delaware’s interior unit, led by Carter, gave up too many easy looks to Maryland big man Bruno Fernando early, but Carter was able to make a few nice plays to spawn fastbreaks in the second half. Maryland freshman forward Jalen Smith was also a problem for Delaware. Smith collected nine offensive rebounds and scored 19 points. Some of that falls back on Carter, but it’s hard to fault the high-scorer in the game.
22 of his 29 points came in the second half.
Kevin Anderson Two Stars
35 minutes, 6 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
Anderson struggled in his return from a torn meniscus injury that caused him to miss all of CAA play a season ago. The sophomore converted just two of his 13 shot attempts and missed all seven of his looks from three. Anderson made a few nice plays on the defensive end, including a strip of Maryland guard Eric Ayala, which made up for a three-point attempt Anderson had blocked on the previous possession. The 6’5’’ point guard pulled down seven rebounds, including six in the second half as Delaware made its comeback.
Ryan Johnson Three Stars
23 minutes, 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 assists
Johnson didn’t show much in his Blue Hens debut, attempting five shots and knocking down just two. Johnson, who transferred from Mercer, was named a team captain before the game. He was likely in the starting lineup because he is experienced, but it’s not yet clear what he’ll bring the team this season.
Darian Bryant One Star
31 minutes, 4 points, 0 rebounds, 1 assist
Bryant, who started in the backcourt alongside Anderson and Johnson, struggled mightily. He hit just two of his nine attempts, was a weak spot defensively and didn’t manufacture any offense in the possessions he brought up the ball. He played in Delaware’s closeout lineup with Anderson and Horton in the backcourt and Carter and Jacob Cushing in the frontcourt. He had open looks as Maryland’s attention justifiably shifted to Carter in the waning moments. He simply couldn’t convert.
On 393 career shot attempts entering yesterday’s game Bryant is a 42.5 percent shooter. From the three-point range, his percentage drops to 29.7 percent. The Blue Hens could have used another floor spacer in that closeout lineup.
Collin Goss Two Stars
11 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 0 assists
In his first game with the Blue Hens after transferring from George Washington before last season, Goss was used sparingly, despite starting alongside Carter. He struggled defensively against the size and strength of Fernando and Smith. Delaware fared better with smaller lineups. Offensively, Goss had a few shots blocked and missed two shots from three. He went 1-5 from the field.
Ithiel Horton Four Stars
32 minutes, 10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists
The first man off Martin Ingelsby’s bench, Horton came out firing. The freshman knocked down a pull-up three only one second into his first stint on the floor. Later in the first half, he posterized a Maryland defender and went to the foul line for a three point play. He was Delaware’s leading scorer at halftime with eight points off three of five shooting.
In the second half Horton went quiet, scoring only two more points from the line. But he still showed a lot for Blue Hens fans to be excited about. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him starting soon, given how many minutes he played alongside Anderson.
Jacob Cushing Four Stars
16 minutes, 9 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist
Cushing played only four minutes in the first half, but hit three of four three point attempts in Delaware’s second half run, providing a nice fit around Carter’s inside game.
Cushing was a friendly matchup for Maryland’s big and physical interior players, but hit enough shots to more than justify his playing time in the second half.
Matt Veretto Three Stars
13 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 0 assists
Veretto, a freshman, hit one of his four shot attempts in his collegiate debut. He’ll compete with Cushing and Goss for minutes next to Carter in the front court. He’ll have a chance to settle in and get more court time against a few of Delaware’s easier non-conference opponents in the coming weeks.