Blue Hen men fall to Navy, snap win streak

NEWARK — Delaware’s men’s basketball players were just starting to feel pretty good about themselves.

Apparently, that was the problem on Wednesday night.

By their own admission, the Blue Hens didn’t take Navy seriously enough and they paid for it with an 80-65 loss to the Midshipmen at the Carpenter Center.

While Navy (3-5) certainly earned the victory, Delaware (7-3) was its own worst enemy at times.

The Hens, who had a three-game winning streak snapped, made just 6-of-15 free throws, committed 15 turnovers and were out-rebounded 45-32.

“We got punked,” said senior center Eric Carter. “We didn’t play our game. Yeah, we were fatigued but that can’t be an excuse. … It just comes back to us executing and hanging our hats on the defensive end — something we didn’t do.

“We came in here thinking we were going to take care of them easily.”

“The lesson for us is to always stay humble,” agreed freshman guard Ithiel Horton. “We came in and we were just like, ‘We’re going to roll over this team.’

“But Coach (Martin) Ingelsby was telling us, ‘College basketball isn’t easy.’ And it isn’t. They came in and whipped us.”

Delaware had to go two overtimes to win at Columbia on Sunday. The Hens’ five starters all played between 42 and 50 minutes in the contest.

Whether it should have been tired or not, Delaware looked like it ran out of gas on Wednesday.

In a game that featured five lead changes and four ties, the Hens trailed only 63-59 with five minutes remaining. But Navy followed with an 11-2 run over the next three minutes and that was that.

Coach Martin Ingelsby said he was worried before the game that his players might be fatigued.

“We rode some guys really heavy minutes on Sunday,” he said. “Those five guys have played a lot of minutes over the last week. We’ve been on the road. You’re always worried about a game like that on your home floor.

“We didn’t have the spirit, the energy we’ve had maybe the last week or so. That’s on me. I have to do a better job of getting our guys ready to play. We need all eight (scholarship) guys that are eligible to be ready to go and give us something. When we were searching tonight, we just didn’t have the right combination to click.”

Delaware did get 20 points from Horton, including four three-pointers, plus 18 points and eight rebounds from Carter. But Carter was just 4-of-9 from the foul line and nobody else finished in double figures.

While Carter and Horton were a combined 16-of-29 from the floor, the rest of the squad was 9-for-22.

After trailing, 33-26, at halftime, however, the Hens did show some life when they reeled off the first seven points of the second half to tie the score at 33-33.

But after falling behind by as many as eight points again, Delaware never got closer than 52-51 on a Horton three-pointer with 10:19 remaining.

“We got chewed (out) at halftime,” said Carter. “But we deserved to. We didn’t play our basketball. If a team like this comes in and you’re not ready to play, you’re going to get smacked in the mouth. I think that’s what happened to us tonight.

“It’s a wakeup call because we were getting comfortable. … We thought we were going to come in and handle business. We’re a business team, the way we go about our game, and we weren’t like that today at all.”

Extra points

Kevin Anderson had nine points and five assists but played only 32 minutes after picking up three fouls in the first half. … Navy finished with 22 offensive rebounds, including 18 in the first half. … Seven Mids scored between nine and 13 points. …. Carter has scored in double figures in all 10 games this season. … Horton scored 20 or more points for the second straight game. He’s hit four three-pointers in three games in a row. … Delaware plays at home again on Sunday when it hosts St. Francis, Pa. at 2 p.m.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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