Carter’s 33 points pace Hens to victory

The Blue Hens’ Eric Carter finished with a career-high 33 points and 12 rebounds in Sunday’s 88-83 win over St. Francis. (Delaware sports information/Mark Jordan)

NEWARK — Everybody on Delaware’s men’s basketball team had reasons to be annoyed with themselves after Wednesday’s 15-point loss to Navy.

But, as one of the Blue Hens’ few seniors, Eric Carter took it especially hard.

“He felt like maybe he let the group down,” said Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby.

Carter wasn’t about to let that happen again.

On Sunday afternoon, the 6-foot-9 center netted a career-high 33 points with 12 rebounds as the Hens out-dueled St. Francis, Pa., 88-83, in a back-and-forth non-conference matchup at the Carpenter Center.

A combined seven players reached double figures in a contest that featured 11 lead changes and seven ties. The 88 points were a season-high for Delaware (8-3) against a Division I squad.

Sophomore Kevin Anderson, who netted 14 points, celebrates late in Sunday’s game.
(Delaware sports information/Mark Jordan)

Carter led the way, hitting 12-of-14 shots from the floor.

“I knew he was extra-motivated,” sophomore guard Kevin Anderson said about Carter. “All week all he was talking about was, ‘Come on, we’ve got to get this win. We’ve got to bounce back.’

“To be honest, I think Eric is a top-10 big in the country. I think he’s the best big in our conference.”

“I can’t say enough about Eric Carter,” said Ingelsby. “Sometimes, offensively, it’s like let’s just get the ball to him and let him make plays. It’s hard for me to take him out of the game because he’s playing so well.

“I’m really proud of how he’s led the group. He’s been a really strong voice for our guys. They look up to him. And he’s playing like the best big guy in the league right now.”

Delaware needed all of Carter’s points against a Red Flash squad (3-6) that was the preseason pick to win the Northeast Conference. Part of the reason St. Francis doesn’t have more victories is because it played a three-game stretch against UCLA, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.

So, thanks in part to a 26-point game from Salisbury, Md. native Jamaal King, the Red Flash trailed just 85-83 with 43.2 seconds left.

Anderson, though, drove to the hoop for a basket with just 13 seconds left to stretch the Hens’ lead to 87-83. When St. Francis missed its ensuing three-pointer, freshman guard Ithiel Horton (15 points) grabbed the rebound and hit a foul shot with 6.9 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Five different players accounted for Delaware’s final 19 points of the game. Anderson (14) and Darian Bryant (12) joined Carter and Horton in double digits.

Neither team led by more than seven points in the game.

“When we play like this — execute and talk — I know that we can be a good team,” said Carter, who also had a team-high five assists. “I have faith in every one of my teammates. That’s what we did today.”

“I think we have a group that can put some points on the board, which is good to see,” said Ingelsby. “We’re not in the 60s and 70s as much as we used to be.

“We’ve got to be better defensively. But you get into a game like that where’s it’s up and down, they’re flowing and they’re confident. They make a three and we make a three. … It was a pretty good game to watch.”

In a game where the two teams were a combined 22-of-53 three-pointers, little things made a big difference. After committing 15 turnovers in the loss to Navy, Delaware had only five on Sunday.

Carter, personally, made just 4-of-9 foul shots against the Midshipmen. But he sank 8-of-10 free throws on Sunday to redeem himself.

“I was angry,” Carter admitted. “I came back and shot the next day. I knew that I could be better — and I need to be better for this team and for myself, individually. That’s what I did today.”

Extra points

Sophomore guard Ryan Allen, who been sidelined all season with a broken foot, is no longer wearing a walking boot. Last year’s CAA Rookie of the Year may play in the Hens’ next game, at Stony Brook next Sunday. … Carter’s previous career high was 29 points, which he scored against Maryland in this year’s season opener. … Carter played the final 5:45 with four fouls. He also drew nine of the 15 fouls that were called against St. Francis. … Delaware’s next home game is on Dec. 19 when it hosts Delaware State at 7 p.m.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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