Carter, Horton lead UD men over La. Tech

NEWARK — UNC-Greensboro is a pretty good basketball team.

But Delaware’s players also know there was no excuse for losing to the Spartans by 19 points on their home court like the Blue Hens did on Friday night.

“It was a bad taste for the next two days,” said senior guard Darian Bryant.
Delaware, though, was feeling a lot better about itself after battling past Louisiana Tech, 75-71, in a nonconference game on Monday night at the Carpenter Center.

In a back-and-forth contest in which neither team led by more than seven, the Hens (5-2) took control down the stretch to get back on track. The Greensboro loss snapped a four-game winning streak.

All five Delaware starters scored in double figures, led by senior center Eric Carter with 23 and freshman guard Ithiel Horton with 18 for the second straight night.

“I think that’s definitely a statement win, especially after UNCG,” said Carter, who also had eight rebounds and four assists. “We kind of got smacked around — especially in the second half (on Friday). It’s good to bounce back.

“We knew we had to come out and defend our home court. That’s what we did.”

The game featured six lead changes and six ties. Delaware led for 28:48 of it.

But that didn’t stop the Bulldogs from going up 59-56 with 6:39 remaining. Just as the Hens called timeout, however, La. Tech’s Anthony Duruji was whistled for a technical for something he said to an official.

Horton sank the two ensuing free throws. Then, on Delaware’s possession, Bryant kicked a pass out to freshman forward Matt Varetto, who buried a three-pointer from the corner just as the shot clock expired.

The basket put the Hens back up 61-59 with 6:07 on the clock. While the Bulldogs did tie the game at 61-61, Delaware never trailed again.

With the Hens up 72-68 in the final minute, La. Tech got off four shots but missed them all. Carter made one free throw and Horton sank two in the last 18 seconds before the Bulldogs hit a three just before the final buzzer.

Varetto added a crucial eight points on 3-for-4 shooting from the floor, including 2-for-3 shooting from three-point range.

Varetto, who scored 15 against Greensboro, and Horton both started on Monday night.

“Our freshmen are pretty good,” Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby said with a smile. “I thought starting them gives us the most potent offensive group to start the game. It takes a little pressure off Eric Carter and Kevin Anderson.

“That’s a heck of a win for our basketball team coming off a tough one on Friday night,” he added.

Bryant (12) and Anderson (11) were the other double-digit scorers for Delaware.

Clearly, the Hens seem to have more scoring options right now. Too many times in the last two seasons, they could only lean on Ryan Daly to put up points.

In Delaware’s first seven games, seven different players have already netted at least nine points in a contest.

“It’s unselfish,” said Carter. “If somebody’s hot, we look for them more. The offense just flows. It’s the smoothest it’s been. It’s great.”

“The one thing I love about this team is we have more weapons than we’ve had,” said Ingelsby. “Ithiel Horton and Matt Varetto know they have the green light if they’ve got a good look.

“And those guys are continuing to get more and more comfortable in our offense. It’s nice when you have guys who can pass and shoot and make open shots.”

Free throws

Even before Monday, Horton was the first freshman in UD history to score in double figures in five of his first six games. … Carter drew 10 fouls while Anderson drew five of the 22 fouls called on the Bulldogs. … Monday’s game was the first between Delaware and La. Tech in basketball. But the two schools did play a memorable football game in the 1982 NCAA I-AA semifinals. The Hens won 17-0 in the rain and mud that day. … Delaware next plays at UMES on Friday night. The Hens’ next home game is against Navy on Dec. 5.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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