Anderson’s late shot gives UD men win over Hofstra

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Delaware’s men’s basketball team knows how to make things interesting.

And even better for the Blue Hens, the nail-biters have been going their way.

Junior guard Kevin Anderson drove to the basket for a layup just before the final buzzer to give Delaware a dramatic 73-71 victory over Hofstra in a CAA matchup at the Mack Sports Complex on Thursday evening.

The last-second victory comes on the heels of the Hens’ one-point win over Elon on Saturday which came on a three-pointer with five seconds remaining.

“Coach drew up the last play, and I was just able to get to the basket and get a bucket,” said Anderson, who finished with 15 points. “This is a really big win. We’ve faced some adversity lately, but to come in here and beat the preseason favorite shows we can beat anybody in the league.”

The win for Delaware (4-4 CAA, 14-7 overall) also featured a huge performance from sophomore forward Justyn Mutts, who netted a career-high 30 points — on 14-of-17 shooting — with 13 rebounds.

It was Mutts who grabbed an airball on a short Anderson jumper and put it back in to give Delaware a 71-69 advantage with 18 seconds left.

The Pride (5-3 CAA, 14-7 overall) then called timeout to set up a play. Delaware’s Ryan Allen was called for a reach-in foul at the top of the key with just six seconds left.

Hofstra’s Jalen Ray hit the two ensuing foul shots to tie the game. But the Hens inbounded the ball to Anderson, who drove for the game-winner.

The Pride had won five straight over Delaware and 11 of the last 12 meetings. The Hens had also lost their last five trips to Hempstead.

“This is a huge win for our program,” said UD coach Martin Ingelsby. “I really challenged our group to dig in and defend, and we were really tough and physical inside. I can’t say enough about our front line. We had a size advantage, and when Justyn is playing like that, he can take our offense to another level.

“Our guys did a great job executing the last play, We wanted to give Kevin a ball screen to get him momentum going to the hoop. This group is starting to develop cohesion and chemistry, and is having a lot of fun on the court.”

Mutts’ double-double was his seventh of the year. After going scoreless two games ago, the first-year transfer from High Point has tallied 47 points in the last two contests.

Junior center Dylan Painter also notched a double-double with 15 points and a career-high 12 boards.

Delaware started the game by connecting on seven of its first 11 shots from the field, as an Anderson jumper in the paint gave the Hens a 16-7 lead with 14:16 left in the first half.

However, Delaware then went scoreless for over six minutes and the Pride took advantage, scoring 18 consecutive points to go in front 25-16.

But the Hens later answered with a 14-point spurt of their own, taking a 36-30 lead on a three-point play by Painter at the 1:38 mark.

Delaware was up six in the final minute, before Hofstra scored the final five points of the half to pull within 38-37 at the break.

Delaware still led by a point five minutes into the second half before erupting for an eight-point spurt, taking a 54-45 advantage with 12 minutes remaining when Anderson found Collin Goss for a fastbreak layup.

Hofstra rallied back to go up 66-64 with four minutes left, and the game went back and forth from there until Anderson’s game-winner.

Free throws

Nate Darling, with 11 points and five assists, gave the Hens four scorers in double figures. … It was an especially tough night for Allen, who went scoreless after finishing 0-for-9 from the floor, including 0-for-8 from three-point range. The junior guard, who is averaging 13 points per game, also fouled out on the call that sent Hofstra to the line with six seconds remaining. … Delaware completes its two-game northern road swing with a noon game at Northeastern on Saturday.