Blue Hens take control in overtime, top Hornets 68-59

Saleik Edwards of Delaware State puts up a shot with UD’s Ryan Allen trying to block. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

DOVER — Half-full Memorial Hall and Delaware State were a far cry from No. 9 Notre Dame and a sold-out Carpenter Center.

But that doesn’t mean Delaware’s men’s basketball team didn’t get all it could handle from the Hornets on Sunday.

Despite falling behind by 13 points in the first half, DelState almost found a way to knock off the Blue Hens.

Almost.

It wasn’t until overtime that Delaware finally took control for good, pulling away to a 68-59 victory over the Hornets in a matchup of the state’s only two NCAA Division I programs.

The Hens (5-6), who were playing their first contest since losing to the Fighting Irish last Saturday, netted the first seven points of OT to put away DelState (2-10). The Hornets are still looking for their first win over a Division I program this season.

Delaware State’s Kavon Waller drives in for a shot in the first half against the Blue Hens Sunday night. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

“It was one of those games where you just have to find a way to win,” said Delaware senior forward Eric Carter. “It was scrappy, slow and the shots weren’t going in. But we got stops when it mattered in the end. We got out of here with a ‘W’ which is what we needed.”

DelState tied the game with 8.4 seconds left in regulation when guard Pinky Wiley drove the lane for a basket that knotted the score at 55-55.

Delaware had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Darien Bryant’s jumper with a few seconds left was short.

The loss snapped a four-game losing streak for the Hens, who now lead the all-time series with the Hornets, 14-4.

Five players finished in double figures for Delaware: Ryan Allen (15 points), Ryan Daly (13), Kevin Anderson (12), Bryant (12) and Carter (11).

Daly buried a big three-pointer with 1:49 left in regulation to give Delaware a 54-53 lead. Carter’s free throw with 18.5 seconds left gave the Hens a 55-53 advantage and set the stage for Wiley’s game-tying shot.

Delaware State’s Joseph Lewis scores on a short jumper defended by UD’s Ryan Daly Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

“I told them after the game, I’ve never had a bad win,” said Blue Hen coach Martin Ingelsby. “We didn’t play very well but that’s a testament to DelState. That zone gave us some trouble. We didn’t get into a good rhythym — especially in the second half.

“We played a little selfishly at times on the offensive end. But I thought we really made some big, winning plays down the stretch in regulation and then made some big shots in overtime to get us a ‘W.’”

After trailing by as much as 33-20 in the first half, it was the Hornets who got hot in the second half. Three-straight three-pointers by DelState tied the game at 41-41 with 9:29 remaining.

The Hornets later went up by as much as 47-43 on a Joseph Lewis jumper with 5:53 left.

Jonathan Walker led the Hornets with a game-high 16 points. DelState just couldn’t get the shots to fall in overtime.

Artem Tavakalyan of the Hornets maneuvers through the University of Delaware defense in the first half.. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

Four different players scored for Delaware in the extra period. A three from Anderson stretched the Hens’ lead to 62-55.

Anderson had five points with Carter adding four in overtime.

It was a tough loss for the Hornets, who are ranked last out of the 351 Division I programs in the country by the Sagarin ratings.

“I think, overall, we’re playing much, much better,” said DSU coach Keith Walker. “The guys are headed in the right direction. I was pleased with the effort they put on the floor.

“I was pleased with the execution for the majority of the game. We didn’t do a very good job executing in the overtime period. But, like I told the guys, I really can’t complain a whole lot because they pretty much did what we asked.”

Free throws

Delaware has won eight of the nine all-time meetings with the Hornets in Dover. … The Hens host CSU-Bakersfield on Wednesday at 7 p.m. … DelState plays its next three games on the road starting with a game at Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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