Hen hoop team stuns Northeastern 69-62 for Ingelsby’s 1st CAA win

NEWARK — Two weeks ago, Delaware was flat-out humiliated by Northeastern.

Wilting under a barrage of Huskie three-pointers, the Blue Hens trailed by 40 points at halftime before falling by 36.

But on Thursday night, Delaware showed again just how unpredictable sports can be sometimes.

Facing the same Northeastern squad, this time at home, the Hens stood their ground and came away with a gritty 69-62 victory over the Huskies at the Carpenter Center.

It was the first Colonial Athletic Association victory for first-year coach Martin Ingelsby, snapped a six-game losing streak for Delaware (1-6 CAA, 8-12 overall) and, oh yes, was a 43-point turnaround from the last time the two teams played.

Freshman Ryan Daly finished with a team-high 27 points in UD’s win over Northeastern on Thursday night. (Delaware sports information/Jeff Fannon)

“I think we believe in our locker room that we have the talent and the ability to compete with anybody in this league,” freshman Ryan Daly said after netting a team-high 27 points. “That (the first loss to the Huskies) was a rough game. We tried to forget about that as soon as we got on the bus to leave Northeastern.

“Today, we knew if we played the way we knew we could, we knew we could win this game.”

“We didn’t play good at all when we were up there,” said senior Barnett Harris. “You don’t want it to be as bad a loss as that. But it was a good wakeup call to see how tough our league really is and what we have to do to get a win every night.”

Eric Carter went 9-for-11 from the foul line and totaled 11 points for the Hens. (Delaware sports information/Jeff Fannon)

How different were the two games?

In the first meeting, Northeastern (5-2, 12-7) owned a gaping 58-18 halftime advantage. But, on Thursday, the Huskies finished with just 62 points for the game.

Delaware limited Northeastern to 28 fewer points than it tallied in its 90-54 victory on Jan. 5 and 12 fewer three-pointers.

Ingelsby said the Hens spent most of the week just working on their own skills as opposed to game-planning for the Huskies. Delaware is also 6-3 at home this season with the three losses all competitive games.

“It was more about us being positive and confident,” said Ingelsby. “And we’re confident in this building. We haven’t always had the result we wanted but we’ve competed our tails off in this building.”

The Hens’ Cazmon Hayes, who netted 13 points, tries for a dunk in Thursday’s game. (Delaware sports information/Jeff Fannon)

The funny thing, just like on Jan. 5, the Hens got off to a rough start again. After trailing 16-0 at the beginning of the first meeting, Delaware trailed 8-0 after taking seven minutes, 33 seconds to score its first points of the night.

The Hens quickly came alive, however, using a 23-6 run to grab a nine-point lead. Then it was Northeastern’s turn to rally in the second half as it went up 38-32 on a run of three straight threes with 15:44 remaining.

But midway through the half, Harris came off the bench to do what he does best — give Delaware some energy. It’s tough to miss the 6-foot-9 center with the way he barks out defensive calls on the court.

This time, Harris also backed down a defender in the low post for a basket before finishing with six rebounds and a blocked shot. His defense helped keep the Hens close while his efforts to get the crowd going didn’t hurt, either.

“The official said to me like 10 times, ‘Make sure you talk to No. 2, he’s getting a little crazy out there,’” Ingelsby said with a laugh. “But we need that. His energy is important for us.”

“I told the guys when we get in (a timeout), ‘Hey, we’re down six, let’s cut this to three by the next (timeout),’” said Harris. “When I got my chance out there, I just wanted to provide as much energy to get us hyped up out there. As you know, that’s one thing I’m pretty good at. If we have energy, we can do anything.”

Finally, Delaware took the lead for good at 50-49 on a free throw by Eric Carter (11 points) with 6:21 remaining. The Hens then put the game in Daly’s hands.

The freshman netted 10 of Delaware’s final 17 points, twice sinking big three-pointers with the shot clock running down. He also brought the ball up against Northeastern’s press and passed the ball off for a couple more baskets.

Delaware led by as many as 12 points in the final two minutes as the Huskies never got closer than the final score.

“He’s the ultimate competitor,” Ingelsby said about Daly, who is averaging a team-high 13.9 points per game. “They should just etch the trophy right now and give him (CAA) Rookie of the Year. He has a great will to win. And it’s starting to rub off on the rest of the group.

“They kind of defer to him at times. They kind of let him go — getting the ball in his hands and letting him make plays.”

Extra points

Senior Cazmon Hayes scored 13 points while Devonne Pinkard added nine points after sinking 3-of-5 three-pointers. … Daly was 4-for-5 on threes and 7-for-7 from the foul line. … T.J. Williams had a game-high 28 points for Northeastern. … Delaware gets another chance for revenge when it hosts Towson on 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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