Delaware men end regular season with win at UNCW

WILMINGTON, N.C. — UNC-Wilmington decided it wasn’t going to let Nate Darling be the Delaware player who beat it on Saturday night.

Apparently that was just fine with the rest of the Blue Hens.

Delaware put six players in double figures for the first time in 24 years as it closed the regular-season with a convincing 82-65 CAA win over the Seahawks at Trask Coliseum.

The Hens (11-7 CAA, 21-10 overall) became just the fifth UD squad to win more than 20 games in a regular season as well as posting three more conference victories then they had last winter.

Delaware will go into next weekend’s CAA tournament in Washington, D.C. as the fifth seed, although the Hens can still tie for third place in the league standings. Delaware will face either Charleston or Towson on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the CAA quarterfinals.

“It was a great team win,” said junior guard Ryan Allen. “I mean, when you get six guys in double figures, that’s a great feeling. Everybody’s celebrating, everybody’s happy. It’s a great way to go into the playoffs when you’ve got guys shooting the ball like that.

“We’re really confident right now. We’re ready to go to D.C. and win a championship.”

Kevin Anderson (14), Darling (13), Allen (13), Justyn Mutts (13), Jacob Cushing (11) and Dylan Painter (10) gave the Hens six double-digit scorers for the first time since Delaware’s 88-78 win over Florida in San Juan Puerto Rico in 1996.

“It’s a great way to finish the regular season,” said coach Martin Ingelsby. “I’m really happy for our group to get to 11 (CAA) wins.

“This is a unique defense that they play. … We know their head coach fairly well. He said they’re not going to let Nate Darling beat us.”

Allen went 4-for-8 from three-point range with Cushing going 3-for-5. Anderson also contributed eight assists.

The Hens were up 60-56 before they went on a seven-point run, extending the margin to 67-56 on a Mutts jump hook with 8:23 left. UNCW (5-13 CAA, 10-21 overall) got back within eight at 71-63 with 4:39 remaining, but Delaware scored nine straight points over the next three and a half minutes to put the game away.

The Hens shot 58.8 percent from the field, including 15-of-22 in the second half.

Delaware won’t know its first-round CAA tourney opponent until the conference regular-season schedule wraps up today with Towson facing Northeastern. The Hens went just 1-3 against Charleston and Towson this year.

Ingelsby, though, said his team will go to the tournament confident in its ability to play well.

“We feel like we can play with anybody in our league,” he said. “In our league there’s so much parity. … I want our guys going down there fearless, excited, confident. We got the pieces, it’s going to come down to matchups.”