Hens limp to CAA loss; next game postponed due to lack of players

Delaware center Dylan Painter collected 14 points and a career-high 15 rebounds in Saturday’s loss at William & Mary. William & Mary photo/Jim Agnew

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Delaware lost a CAA men’s basketball game on Saturday afternoon.

But the bigger story ended up being that the Blue Hens lost two more players to injury in the contest.

And now a lack of players has led to UD having to postpone at least its next game.

Delaware couldn’t hold leads of nine points in the first half and four points in the final five minutes as it dropped a 67-62 decision at William & Mary in the opener of a two-game set.

The Hens (1-2 CAA, 3-5 overall), though, were down to just six scholarship players available by the end of the game. And one of those players was senior guard Ryan Allen, who was noticeably limping after suffering a leg injury in the closing minutes.

Late in the first half, Delaware had freshman Andrew Carr go down with a left knee injury and not return.

The Hens were playing their third straight game without starters Kevin Anderson and Aleks Novakovich as well as two other scholarship players who were injured before the season.

After assessing the injuries on Saturday evening, Delaware determined that it would have only five healthy players available for Sunday’s scheduled rematch with William & Mary. Therefore, the two teams agreed to postpone the second game and try to re-schedule it later this season.

According to a press release, the decision was made after consultation with the conference office. The athletic directors from both institutions agreed to postpone the game out of concern for the health, safety and well-being of the Delaware men’s basketball student-athletes.

Presumably it was determined that Carr and Allen both wouldn’t be available if a game was played on Sunday.

“We’ve got to be able to learn from this,” UD coach Martin Ingelsby said on his post-game radio interview before the postponement was announced. “I think that was our message to our group. We’re in this thing together. We’ve been dealt a tough hand with some injuries but we’ve got to be able to battle and fight and try to figure it out. That’s our responsibility to each other.”

That being said, William & Mary didn’t take its first lead of the game on Saturday until the final minutes.

Then, trailing 62-58, Delaware closed within a point on a three-pointer by Allen with 37 seconds remaining. The Hens had a chance to stop the Tribe when William & Mary missed a pair of foul shots with 24 seconds on the clock.

But the Tribe’s Quinn Blair muscled his way in to rebound the second miss, was fouled and sank both free throws to give William & Mary back a 64-61 advantage.

UD center Dylan Painter (14 points, career-high 15 rebounds) only made one of two foul shots with 15 seconds left before the Tribe sealed the victory with three more free throws. The Hens were just 6-of-11 from the free throw line.

Ingelsby said Allen deserves a lot of credit for gutting it out on Saturday. He played a team-high 39 minutes and finished with 13 points.

“He’s been fabulous,” Ingelsby said about Allen. “He continues to want that responsibility as a leader. He’s giving us everything. He’s another guy on the injury list every day but he’s a warrior out there. I couldn’t appreciate more what he’s done for our program and what he continues to do.”

Freshman Gianmarco Arletti also scored 13 points for Delaware while sophomore Ebby Asamoah added 11, all in the first half. The Hens shot just 4-of-18 from three-point range.

Delaware shot 51.7 percent in the opening half, going up by as many as nine twice in the half. The Hens were still up eight before a late three-pointer by the Tribe’s Yuri Covington made it a 36-31 game at the break.

The Hens extended the margin to eight at 44-36 early in the second half, but William & Mary eventually pulled even at 46-46 at the 12-minute mark and the game was tight the rest of the way.

“Credit to them, they made some winning plays down the stretch,” said Ingelsby. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to make a shot or two and we really weren’t effective doing that in the second half.”