CAA foe Northeastern pulls away to defeat Blue Hens 75-64

Delaware’s Ryan Allen, who netted 16 points, tries to get off a shot against Northeastern’s Vasa Pusica on Thursday night. Delaware sports information/Mark Jordan

NEWARK — For just a moment, Delaware had Northeastern right where it wanted the Huskies.

Midway through the second half, the Blue Hens held Northeastern scoreless for three minutes while they crept back within two.

Even the Carpenter Center crowd gave Delaware an ovation for its defense.

But the Hens never got over the hump, going scoreless on four straight possessions when they had a chance to tie the game or take the lead.

Finally, Northeastern put away Delaware, pulling away to a 75-64 victory in a CAA men’s basketball matchup at the Carpenter Center on Thursday night.

In avenging a double-overtime loss to the Hens earlier in the season, the second-place Huskies (13-4 CAA, 19-10 overall) handed Delaware (8-9 CAA, 16-14 overall) its third loss in a row.

The one bright spot for Delaware was that, based on the league’s other scores on Thursday, the fifth-place Hens guaranteed themselves no worse than a sixth-place finish. That means they’ll avoid the CAA Tournament play-in round for the first time since 2014.

As for Thursday’s game, with Delaware trailing just 50-48, coach Martin Ingelsby would have liked to have seen what would have happened if Delaware could have taken the lead.

“I thought it would maybe get the crowd into it even more,” he said. “We had some great looks. We were fearless and we were going for it. You’re going to have nights like that — where you run good offense and sometimes the ball just doesn’t go in the hoop.”

The Blue Hens’ Ithiel Horton, who had 16 points puts up a shot against the Huskies.

“We had a lot of open looks that didn’t fall tonight,” said senior guard Darian Bryant. “I think it was more so on the defensive end. We had a few possessions where we slipped up. Those are critical coming down the stretch.”

Delaware did close back within 55-53 on a jumper from Ryan Allen (16 points) with 6:40 remaining. But Northeastern answered with three straight threes from three different players to end any more Blue Hen comeback hopes.

The Huskies eventually took their biggest lead of the night at 73-57 with 1:09 left.

Senior Vasa Pusica, a 6-foot-5 guard from Serbia, finished with a game-high 22 points, including 5-of-12 shooting from three-point range. But six different Northeastern players accounted for its 12-of-26 shooting from beyond the arc.

“They have a lot of shooters,” said Bryant. “Especially off the bench, they have shooters.”

Besides Allen, the Hens also got 16 points from freshman Ithiel Hortson and 12 from senior Eric Carter.

Ingelsby said avoiding the CAA tourney’s first round is a big step for the Hens, who close the regular season by hosting first-place Hofstra on Saturday at 4 p.m.

“For us, what we’ve dealt with, the adversity we’ve faced throughout the season, to be where we are heading into the final game of the season knowing that we’ve got a first-round bye I think says a lot about this group and the future,” he said.

Free throws

Delaware played its fourth-straight game without starter Kevin Anderson, who did watch the contest from the bench. … The Hens led for only 24 seconds in the contest, at 8-6, on a Horton three in the first five minutes. … Northeastern has won eight of the last 10 meetings with the Hens but UD leads the all-time series, 29-28.

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