Hens lose 5th straight, fall to Towson 75-71

Ryan Allen

NEWARK — Losing never gets any easier to swallow, of course.

And knowing that, for the third straight game, Delaware led for much of the contest, doesn’t feel like much of a consolation prize to the Blue Hens right now.

This time it was Towson that executed down the stretch, taking the lead with just 21.2 seconds left and then hanging on for a 75-71 victory over the Blue Hens in CAA men’s basketball at the Carpenter Center on Thursday night.

It was the fifth-straight loss for short-handed Delaware (4-7 CAA, 11-13 overall) and came by the smallest margin in that skid. The Hens led for 25:30 of the game, which was tied for another 5:32.

“We battled,” said Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby. “We really battled for 40 minutes against a really good basketball team. They’re tough, they’re physical. … I thought our guys really competed.

“We’re right there against some really, really good teams,” he added later. “I’ve got 31 points a game sitting next to me on the bench (in injured Ryan Daly and Kevin Anderson), which is hard. But I hope we use this as motivation.”

The Tigers (6-5 CAA, 16-8), who beat Delaware for the fifth straight meeting, went ahead for good at 69-68 on Justin Gorham’s basket inside with only 21.2 seconds left.

After calling a couple timeouts, the Hens inbounded the ball at midcourt with 18.2 seconds remaining. But Towson sent a couple defenders at freshman guard Ryan Allen (22 points) just as he started to drive and forced him into a travelling call with 8.4 seconds on the clock.

The Tigers then sank all six of their final free throws in the last 6.9 seconds to ice the victory.

After making its foul shots, Towson intentionally fouled the Hens after they inbounded the ball — to prevent them from getting off a three-pointer.

Delaware’s final chance came with 2.7 seconds remaining and the Tigers up 73-70. Senior guard Anthony Mosley (21 points) made his first free throw before intentionally missing the second.

Towson’s Eddie Keith, however, grabbed the rebound, hit his two foul shots and that was that.

Allen wishes he played his last possession a little differently.

“Good defense by them, bad play by me, good call by the ref,” said Allen. “I should have been more patient.

“We can’t do anything about this game. We’ve got to get ready for the next game. At the end of the day, we want to get a win. We’re not into morale victories anymore.”

“We’ve got to do a better job of executing on that last play that we had,” said Mosley. “And we’ve got to do a better job of doing some tough stuff at the end. It’s all defense coming down the stretch.

“They’re a really good team. They made a lot of really big plays coming down the stretch. They made their free throws so hats off to them. But I feel like that was a winnable game for us.”

Behind Allen’s outside shooting — the freshman went 5-of-7 from three-point range — helped Delaware lead by as many 10 points midway through the first half. The Hens were up five at halftime before going back-and-forth with the Tigers in a game that featured 12 lead changes and seven ties.

Delaware also overcame a five-point deficit in the final three minutes. It’s last lead came at 68-67 on a nice drive by Eric Carter (12 points) with 34.6 seconds left.

But Towson took control after that.

“We’re learning how to play with this group,” said Ingelsby, who has seven scholarship players available. “We are close but this is a really good basketball league. Top to bottom there’s really competitive teams.

“We’ve got to make just a couple more plays down the stretch to get out of there with a win.”

Extra points

Senior Skye Johnson, who made his first start in two years, finished with 10 points and a career-high nine rebounds. … Jacob Cushing, who was playing his fifth game back after missing a month with a broken nose, sank a big three-pointer to give Delaware a 66-65 lead with 1:07 left. … Allen was the only player who played all 40 minutes. … Delaware next plays at Elon on Saturday night.

Facebook Comment