Hens end 3-game win streak with 85-64 loss to Willaim & Mary

 

Freshman Ryan Daly scored a team-high 20 points in Delaware’s loss to William & Mary on Saturday. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

NEWARK — Relatively speaking, this was a pretty big night for Delaware.

The Blue Hens owned a three-game winning streak and had an overflow student crowd in the stands.

Unfortunately for Delaware, William & Mary wasn’t impressed by any of that.

The Tribe grabbed control late in the first half and never gave it up, handing the Hens a humbling 85-64 loss in CAA men’s basketball at the Carpenter Center on Saturday night.

The setback not only snapped Delaware’s three-game winning streak but it reminded the Hens (5-11 CAA, 12-17 overall) how difficult it can be to beat a quality program like William & Mary (9-7, 15-12).

“Every time they’re on the court, four of their five players are shooters,” said senior Cazmon Hayes. “So if there’s any kind of lapse in the defense whatsoever, it can get exposed. We had a couple (lapses) — we had a lot of missed communication. That’s what happens in the game of basketball.”

Playing its final home game of the season, Delaware hung with the Tribe for much of the opening 20 minutes.

In a contest that featured nine lead changes and three ties, the Hens built a 23-20 advantage when freshman Jacob Cushing drove the baseline for an impressive dunk.

Devonne Pinkard was one of four Delaware seniors playing their final home game on Saturday night. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

But William & Mary reeled off the next 10 points — getting back-to-back threes from Daniel Dixon (25 points) — and never trailed again. The Tribe opened up 38-26 halftime lead before eventually going up by as many as 23 points in the second half.

Delaware never got the lead under 11 in the closing 21 minutes.

“It was 23-20 … and they hit back-to-back threes,” said coach Martin Ingelsby. “That kind of broke our spirit a little bit. We could never overcome that.”

Dixon and fellow senior Omar Pruitt (23 points) combined to shoot 15-of-27 from the floor, including 6-for-10 from three-point range. William & Mary sank seven of its 10 three-pointers in the first half.

“They’re really good,” Ingelsby said about the Tribe. “They’re older, they’re experienced. They played like the preseason, third-best-team in the league where they were ranked.

“They’ve taken their punches on the road but they were ready to play tonight. They got confident on the offensive end. They’re really hard for us to guard.”

It was a difficult ending to the home careers of Delaware’s four seniors: Hayes, Devonne Pinkard, Barnett Harris and Curtis McRoy, who all started the game.

With freshman Ryan Daly netting a team-high 20 points, Hayes added 11 while Pinkard had 10. The Hens close the regular season with a pair of road games next week before playing in the CAA Tournament.

“My family said, ‘Are you sad? Are you sad?’” said Hayes. “It didn’t hit me yet. I said, ‘I’m probably going to wake up in the middle of the night tonight and start crying.’ I’ve seen guys come and go, I said it’s just my turn.”

On the other hand, most of Delaware’s players still have more home games to play in the future. Aside from Senior Night, the Hens’ usual starting lineup doesn’t include any seniors.

Ingelsby hopes those youngsters remember the opportunity they missed on Saturday night.

“I’m going to use this as a reference point for our guys,” said the first-year coach. “This was a big game. It was a great crowd, we had unbelievable momentum coming into this game.

“We’re going to be in these games in the future — especially with that group that’s really playing a lot. Let’s use this as a reference point to be able to overcome and get wins when you have this atmosphere like it is.”

Extra points

With seven rebounds, Daly tied the school freshman rebound record of 419. … Daly also scored 20 or more points for the ninth time this season. … In beating Delaware for the fourth straight time, William & Mary snapped a six-game road losing streak. … The Hens finish with a home record of 9-5 this season.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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