Men’s Basketball splits final week of regular season
Managing Sports Editor
Delaware men’s basketball split the final two games of the season, losing to Charleston 80-71 on Thursday, but they bounced back with a 82-65 win at University of North Carolina-Wilmington (UNCW) on Saturday.
Against Charleston, Delaware had control for most of the second half after a tightly contested first half. The Blue Hens led 59-49 with 6:31 remaining but the Cougars hit six three-pointers in a row, going on a 22-4 run, seizing control of the game, coming away with a 80-71 victory. Charleston scored a season-high 52 points in the second half.
“It got away from us, it really did,” Head Coach Martin Ingelsby told Blue Hens Radio. “They made some big shots, they made a lot of threes. Thought we played a really good basketball game for about 32 minutes and just couldn’t finish.”
Cougars guard Brevin Gallaway had 19 points, all coming in the second half.
“Galloway I think maybe was scoreless in the first half and then had 19 points in the second half,” Ingelsby said to Blue Hens Radio. “He made some tough shots.”
The Blue Hens got the sour taste out of their mouths two days later, beating UNCW 80-71. Delaware had an impressive six players score in double figures, the first instance since a win over Florida on Dec. 1, 1996.
The first half was as close as one could get, with Delaware and UNCW shooting 52% and 50% from the field respectively. An alley-oop dunk at the buzzer by Delaware forward Justyn Mutts put the Blue Hens up 41-40 heading into halftime.
The second half was a different story. Delaware shot an absurd 15-22 (68%) in the period and held UNCW to 33% shooting, only giving up 25 points.
Blue Hens junior guard Ryan Allen got back on track. He has been struggling with his shot in recent games, but was 3-8 and 4-8 on three-pointers against the Cougars and Seahawks.
“I went to the coach’s office after my shooting slump and the main focus of our conversation was ‘We gotta get back in the gym and dedicate myself to getting shots up’ and that’s what I did over the last two weeks and it shows,” Allen told Blue Hens Radio after the win over UNCW. “Three threes last game, four threes this game, I don’t think I’ve shot the ball like this for a while, like since my sophomore year.”
Ingelsby was delighted to see Allen regain his shooting touch.
“We got Ryan Allen back,” Ingelsby told Blue Hens Radio. “He is a confident guy heading down to the CAA Tournament, makes four threes.”
Allen finished with 13 points. Backcourt mate Kevin Anderson had a team-high 14 points and eight assists to go along with six rebounds for Delaware. Mutts and Nate Darling also had 13 points. Darling also added seven rebounds. Jacob Cushing scored a season-best 11 points off the bench, knocking down three three-pointers. Dylan Painter was the last Blue Hen in double figures with 10.
“That was a team effort,” Ingelsby told Blue Hens Radio. “I really challenged our guys at halftime on the defensive end, and we responded.”
Delaware finishes the regular season 21-10 and 11-7 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). Delaware has improved its record in every season with Martin Ingelsby at the helm. The 11-7 record in conference is their highest mark in Ingelsby’s tenure and the most since their 2013-14 CAA Championship season.
The Blue Hens will be the fifth seed in the upcoming CAA Tournament in Washington D.C. next week, but finished tied with Charleston for fourth place. Delaware will get a bye in the first round of the tournament and will play the No. 4 seed Charleston in the quarterfinals Sunday, March 8 at 2:30 p.m.