Freshman Daly shines again in Blue Hens’ loss to Charleston

NEWARK — Ryan Daly is only a freshman.

So you can excuse the Delaware freshman for his youthful optimism.

Despite the Blue Hens’ 65-56 loss to Charleston on Monday night, Daly still sees no reason why Delaware can’t be competitive in the Colonial Athletic Association every time out.

“I think we know we know we can compete with anyone and win any game in this league,” said Daly. “We’ve just got to finish games better.

“We’re a good basketball team. We have confidence we can match up with anyone.”

Freshman Ryan Daly netted 20 points for the third time in his last seven games. (Delaware sports information/Jeff Horne)

Clearly, however, it’s going to take more than just playing well in stretches to get the Hens (0-2 CAA, 7-8 overall) winning again in the Colonial. Delaware has now won just two of its last 20 league games dating back to last season.

On Monday, the Hens held the lead for 24:42 of the game compared to just 12:49 for the Cougars (2-0 CAA, 11-4 overall).

Charleston, though, was at its best with the game on the line. After Delaware led by as many as 11 points in the first half, the Cougars used a commanding 13-0 run to go up 44-37 with 7:30 remaining in the contest.

The Blue Hens’ Eric Carter, who had six points and four rebounds, goes after a ball against Charleston on Monday night. (Delaware sports information/Jeff Horne)

The Hens never got closer than five points the rest of the night as Charleston eventually went up by as many as 12.

The Cougars ended up outscoring the Hens, 45-30, in the second half.

Charleston makes an average of only 5.6 three-pointers per game but sank nine on Monday. That included 6-for-9 shooting from beyond the arc in the second half.

“When your focus is keeping a team out of the lane — trying to force them to make threes — and they actually make the threes, that makes it difficult,” said senior Cazmon Hayes.

“They were making their shots,” said first-year coach Martin Inglebsy. “They had us spread out and some guys stepped up and made some big shots. From about the 14-minute mark until about the seven-minute mark, we didn’t really defend like we had defended in the first half. It kind of got away from us there.”

Offensively, Daly again led the way with 20 points. The freshman has scored 20 in each of the last two games and three times in the last seven.
Daly has also scored in double figures in seven straight games.

But with nobody else scoring in double figures on Monday, it wasn’t enough. Chivarsky Corbett added nine points while Hayes had eight.

Delaware was only 1-of-11 from three-point range in the second half and 3-for-17 in the game.

“We were really struggling on the offensive end,” said Ingelsby. “I think that’s a great challenge for our group — when it’s not going well, can we still dig in and guard on the defensive end?

“But they’re a really good team,” he said about Charleston. “They’ve got experience, they’ve got older guys. They stepped up and made big plays when they needed to.”

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Hens.

On Thursday, they go to Boston to face a Northeastern squad that has beaten both Michigan State and Connecticut. Then, on Saturday night, Delaware hosts CAA-leading UNC-Wilmington (13-2).

Still, while the Hens lost to both Hofstra (by two on Saturday) and Charleston, Ingelsby thought there was a lot to like about the way Delaware played in both games.

“For us to be in position (to win) against two really good teams in our league, I think that says a lot about our group,” he said. “I want them to keep believing and staying confident and positive with each other.

“We are who we are right now. … Hopefully we can get one and get over the hump and springboard off that moving forward.”

Extra points

Charleston leads the CAA in defense, giving up only 59.5 points per game. … This is the third straight year that the Hens have started 0-2 in conference. … Delaware had been 3-0 against Charleston in Newark before Monday. The all-time series is now tied 5-5. … The Cougars have won eight of their last nine games overall.

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