Blue Hen men edge Marist 59-56, improve to 4-0 at home

NEWARK — With only four seconds left on the shot clock when he caught the ball, Devonne Pinkard didn’t have much time to think.

Maybe that was a good thing.

Pinkard, whose shooting runs hot and cold, calmly drilled a three-pointer from the corner with 41 seconds left to put Delaware ahead to stay as the Blue Hens then held off Marist, 59-56, in men’s basketball at the Carpenter Center on Tuesday night.

Delaware (6-5) still had to sink four free throws, including a pair from Cazmon Hayes with just 1.9 second remaining, before improving to 4-0 at home for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

Clearly, though, Pinkard’s three-pointer was huge for the Hens. It gave Delaware a 55-53 lead after the Red Foxes (4-8) overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half.

The Hens’ Ryan Daly comes down with a big offensive rebound late in Tuesday’s game. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

“The play was drawn up for me to come off the screen,” said Pinkard, who finished with 11 points. “I knew there was four seconds on the clock so I was just trying to get it up, honestly. I’ve been trying to get extra shots up (in practice) and that really helped tonight with my confidence.”

“I always tell him to keep shooting, even though he’s not making them sometimes,” said junior guard Anthony Mosley. “He shot it that time. He’s defintely capable of making shots.”

Marist standout guard Khalid Hart had some chances to bail out the Red Foxes in the closing seconds. But, with Marist trailing by two, the senior from Sanford made only one of two free throws with 8.5 seconds remaining.

Then, after Pinkard and Ryan Daly — who grabbed a big offensive rebound — combined to sink two of four foul shots, Hart (10 points) went to the foul line again with 2.6 seconds on the clock. This time, he made both shots to get Marist back within 57-56.

UD’s Cazmon Hayes, who scored 10 points, drives against Marist’s Khalid Hart, a Sanford grad. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

Finally, though, Hayes’ two free throws iced the victory at last.

“We do game situations almost every day,” said first-year coach Martin Ingelsby. “And we had to execute down the stretch to win that game.

“What a moment for Devonne. We all know he’s been struggling with his three-point shot. He stepped up tonight. … I think that’s something to build off of as we move forward in the CAA season. You know, once you get into league play, it’s one, two or three-possession games.”

The Hens hoped they wouldn’t need any last-minute heroics after leading for most of the contest.

After the opening five minutes, Marist didn’t go in front again until it went up 51-50 with 5:03 remaining in the game on a three-pointer from Ryan Funk (14 points). The contest then featured three lead changes, with Pinkard’s three accounting for the last one.

Delaware had four players score in double figures: Mosley (13 points), Pinkard (11), Hayes (10) and Daly (10). One player noticeably absent from that group was Chivarsky Corbett, who took only three shots and went scoreless in 19 minutes.

The sophomore had been averaging 9.3 points per game.

“I needed guys that are going to play harder,” said Ingelsby. “I was disappointed with some of the effort early on. … Guys are going to earn their minutes in practice.”

With six victories, the Hens already have just one fewer than they won all last season. Ingelsby is also trying to establish a belief in his players that they’re always going to be difficult to beat on their home floor.

Tuesday’s game was Delaware’s first home contest in 18 days. The Hens had lost a pair of games on the road.

“Winning at home is important, especially with conference play coming up,” said Pinkard.

“When I had my press conference (when he was hired in May), I talked about making this one of the hardest places to play in the country,” said Ingelsby. “We’ve got to keep building that. At the end of the game, in those last four minutes, our guys are really starting to believe that we can find ways to get it done at home.”

Extra points

A pair of Sanford grads — Delaware’s Mosley and Marist’s Hart — went up against each other much of the game. Hart, who averages 17.8 points, scored his 10 on just 3-for-14 shooting from the floor. Besides his 13 points, Mosley also had eight rebounds, three assists and two steals … Marist had won its last two games in Newark and still leads the all-time series, 4-3. … Daly, a freshman, has scored in double figures in three straight games. … Delaware returns to action on Thursday with a 7 p.m. game at South Florida (ESPN-3). The Hens’ next home game is against Iona on Dec. 28.

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