Delaware men blown out at Towson

Ryan Allen scored 15 points for Delaware. Delaware Sports Information/Mark Campbell

TOWSON, Md. — If Delaware knew a way to stop Towson from blowing open Saturday’s game, it would have.

But the Blue Hens simply didn’t have any answers.

The Tigers grabbed control of the contest in the first half, going up by 22 at halftime, and never let go before cruising to an 84-68 victory over Delaware in CAA men’s basketball at the SECU Arena on Saturday afternoon.

The Hens (2-3 CAA, 12-6 overall) actually led the Tigers, 14-13, with 12:39 left in the first half. That was their last advantage, though.

The Tigers (3-3 CAA, 9-9 overall) reeled off 31 of the game’s next 39 points to take a commanding 44-22 lead into halftime.

A three-pointer from Polytech High grad Juwan Gray with 55 seconds left gave Towson its 22-point lead at intermission. In his first season playing with the Tigers after transferring from San Diego, the Dover native finished with 13 points.

“It was kind of a personal game for me being from Delaware,” said Gray. “They didn’t recruit me while I was in-state so I felt like I really wanted to make a mark and make an impact. I had to do whatever it takes for my team to win.”

The Hens, who have lost six of their last nine games after a 9-0 start, were disappointed in how they reacted to Towson’s big first half.

“We weren’t ready to play, I don’t think we were ready to guard,” said Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby. “They out-toughed us, they ‘out-physicalled’ us. I think we were a little shocked.

“We didn’t get off to a great start at JMU (on Thursday). We didn’t get off to a great start today. I just think we’ve got to be able to learn from that. Teams that have gotten up into us, and pressured us and been physical with our perimeter, we haven’t handled that the right way. We’ve got to be better in those moments.”

The difference between Saturday’s game and Thursday’s contest at James Madison was that the Hens came back to beat the Dukes, 80-76.

Winning back-to-back road games in a span of three days is difficult for many CAA squads. Still, Delaware’s players didn’t like the way they competed early in Saturday’s game.

“We’ve just got to be tougher, honestly,” said junior guard Nate Darling, who had a team-high 16 points. “They wanted it more than us.”
“They came out playing harder than us,” agreed junior center Dylan Painter, who netted 11 points in his first UD start. “They punched us in the mouth and we never recovered. They got offensive rebounds and kicked it out — and those are the killers.

“We’ve got to come out and play harder from the start — play a full 40 minutes.”

Delaware hasn’t played particularly well at Towson where it is only 14-24 against the Tigers all-time. And the Hens have now lost eight of their last nine meetings with Towson.

Five Tigers finished in double figures, led by guard Allen Bertrand with 18. Besides Darling and Painter, Ryan Allen added 15 points for the Hens.

In the last 11 minutes of the first half, when the Tigers took over, Delaware shot just 3-of-15 from the floor while committing six of its 13 total turnovers.

Towson, on the other hand, sank six of its nine total threes in that same span.

“I thought we had some good offensive possessions where we missed shots and we let them get confident,” said Ingelsby. “And every one is going in — they’re making threes, they’re getting out in transition. We just didn’t have that same vibe about us that we did on Thursday night.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t get it done,” he added. “But I’m happy we got one on this road swing. I think, in this league, to be able to win away from your building, it shows some maturity and growth. But it will be good to get back to campus and get back to practice.”

Free throws

Both Allen and Justyn Mutts (2 points, 6 rebounds) fouled out for Delaware. … Gray scored in double digures for the fifth time this season. He had 19 in the season opener. … Freshman forward Aleks Novakovich didn’t suit up for Saturday’s game because of a stress fracture in his left foot that he’s been dealing with. … Delaware plays its next two games at home, starting with a 7 p.m. contest against highly-regarded William & Mary on Thursday.