Delaware men fall at Drexel, drop to 1-2 in CAA play

Ryan Allen led Delaware on Friday with 13 points.

PHILADELPHIA — Maybe Delaware’s not ready to conquer the CAA just yet.

But this wasn’t a title-contending Drexel squad that the Blue Hens were playing, either.

All of which made the fact that the rival Dragons were able to pull out a 61-55 victory over Delaware in men’s basketball on Friday night all the more disappointing for the Hens.

Delaware (1-2 CAA, 11-5 overall) was held to a season low in points, gave up 19 offensive rebounds and lost for the fifth straight time at the Daskalakis Center despite limiting Drexel to just 37.1 shooting for the night.

Throw in the fact that the Hens sank only 4-of-18 three-pointers and it wasn’t a game Delaware’s players will enjoy watching on tape. The Hens are just 2-5 since their school-record 9-0 start.

“We’re not playing good basketball right now,” said UD coach Martin Ingelsby. “That’s something that we need to get back to campus, watch some film and try to figure it out.

“We’ve got to be able to manufacture more points,” he said later. “It was a tough night for us on both ends.”

In a series in which the home team has now won nine in a row, Delaware tied the game at 50-50 on a drive by Kevin Anderson with 4:11 remaining. It was the eighth tie in a contest in which the Hens overcame a 10-point halftime deficit.

A three-pointer from Camren Wynter (18 points), though, gave the Dragons (2-1 CAA, 9-7 overall) the lead for good at 53-50 with 1:49 remaining. Drexel eventually netted seven straight points to go up 57-50 with 37.5 seconds on the clock.

Delaware did get a three-pointer from Ryan Allen (13 points) to slice the Dragons’ lead to only 59-55 but it came with just 11.3 left. Drexel hit 2-of-4 free throws from there to sew up the victory.

The Hens made just two of their last eight field-goal attempts after tying the game at 50-50.

“This is a great conference,” said Allen. “Coming in, everybody knows we have a target on our back. We’re getting everybody’s best shot.

“I believe we’ve got to do a better job of bouncing back after their runs. We’ve got to be ready to throw a punch after they throw their punch. We’ve haven’t been doing a good job of that really.”

Delaware’s 4-for-18 three-point shooting comes after a 3-for-25 night from beyond the arc in a loss to Charleston on Monday. Nate Darling finished with just eight points while going 0-for-5 from three-point range.

It was only the second time this season that the junior guard has been held to single digits.

“I hope it’s just one of those stretches,” Ingelsby said about his team’s outside shooting. “Credit to Drexel. They do a great job guarding the three-point line. They really stayed up on our perimeter.

“I think we’re a good three-point shooting team, I don’t think we’re a great three-point shooting team. I think our shot selection plays into that at times — where we feel like we need to get one quickly. I thought we had some good looks we just missed.”

Perhaps the most frustrating stat from the game was undersized Drexel’s 43-27 edge in rebounds. There were several times when Delaware looked like it had made a stop only to have the Dragons hit a big shot off an offensive board.

That’s one reason the Dragons — who were picked just eighth in the preseason — won despite shooting only 23-of-62 for the game.

Drexel’s James Butler, the CAA’s top rebounder, finished with 10 points and 16 boards.

“They played hard,” said the Hens’ Dylan Painter, who had 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds. “But it was just effort on our part. We had mental lapses, effort lapses, that let up easy offensive rebounds that eventually got them threes that gave them momentum.

“As big guys, we take pride in that (rebounding),” said the 6-foot-10 Painter. “It’s tough when they out-play us.”

The Hens say they’re still confident despite their recent struggles. Sooner or later they’ll have to start proving it on the court, though.

“I guarantee we’re going to fix this,” said Allen. “With the coaching staff we’ve got and the players we have, we’re going to fix this. That’s not a worry on our end at all.”

Free throws

Drexel and Delaware have split their season series in each of the past six seasons. The Hens host the Dragons on Feb. 1. … Allen and Kevin Anderson didn’t start Friday’s game after arriving late for a team film session on Tuesday. … Delaware is on the road again on Thursday with a 7 p.m. contest at James Madison.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com