Blue Hens rally but fall to Hofstra 58-56 in CAA opener

NEWARK — The young University of Delaware men’s basketball team suffered its first home loss in a 58-56 setback to Hofstra at the Bob Carpenter Center Saturday afternoon, but the Blue Hens made a strong statement that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the Colonial Athletic Association this season.

Playing their CAA opener on New Year’s Eve afternoon, the Hens battled back from a 12-point second half deficit and had the chance to win the game, but Ryan Daly’s three-point attempt just before the buzzer bounced off the rim.

It was one of the few things that went wrong for Daly on the afternoon as the freshman guard scored a career-high 20 points, tied his career-high with 15 rebounds, and recorded his second straight double-double for the Hens (7-7, 0-1 CAA), who were coming off a 63-54 win over Iona Wednesday that helped them match last year’s win total. Daly had 18 points and 12 rebounds in that win, his first career start for Delaware.

Anthony Mosley added 13 points and Devonne Pinkard contributed eight points for the Hens, who turned the ball over just seven times and had a 41-36 rebounding advantage but were hurt by 34.5 percent shooting from the field (19 of 55).

“I was pleased with the group that finished the game, I thought they played really, really hard and were resilient,” Blue Hen first-year head coach Martin Ingelsby said. “Our zone was good but we didn’t shoot the ball well from three, and we have to capitalize from the foul line. We just dug ourselves too big a hole in the second half. We need to find ways to generate offense late in the game.”

Hofstra (8-5, 1-0 CAA), which played without third leading scorer Brian Bernardi (13.1 ppg), won its third straight game as Ty Greer tied a career-high with 17 points and pulled seven rebounds, Justin Wright-Foreman added 15 points, and freshman Eli Pemberton chipped in with 11 points.

The Hens held All-CAA forward Rokas Gustys, the nation’s No. 2 leading rebounder at 13.5 per game, to 11 rebounds and just a single point before he fouled out in the final minutes.

Hofstra took a 30-26 halftime lead but Delaware scored the first seven points of the second half to take its first lead since early in the game. But the Pride responded with a 15-0 run of its own to take a 45-33 lead with 12:46 remaining.

The Pride still led by eight points at 51-43 with 9:08 remaining but the Hens never flinched and used a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 51-49 and tied the game at 56-56 with 1:00 left on a Daly three-pointer. Wright-Foreman was fouled on a three-point attempt with 36 seconds left and made two free throws to up the HU lead to 36.

Daly missed a potential game-tying jumper with 22 seconds left but the Hens got the offensive rebound and another chance. Mosley also missed a potential game-tying shot but also was off the mark and Hofstra’s Pemberton grabbed the rebound and was fouled with six seconds left. But Pemberton missed the one-and-one and gave Delaware one more shot. Daly had an open look just to the right of the top of the key but was off the mark as the buzzer sounded.

Notes

• Delaware lost at home for the first time in six tries this season. The five straight wins to open the season were the most for UD since the 1999-2000 team won its first nine home games at The Bob

• Hofstra defeated Delaware for the fifth straight time in the series with this game the 84th all-time meeting

• Delaware dropped its third straight CAA opener but is still 8-8 all-time to start league play

• Delaware and Hofstra also met last year to open CAA play with that game also being played on New Year’s Eve

• Delaware is one of just 11 teams in NCAA Division I who have already matched their entire 2015-16 win total

• Daly is the first Delaware freshman to record consecutive double-doubles since Greg Smith in 1993-94.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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