Hens settle for weekend split vs. Charleston: UD rally falls short in 66-59 CAA defeat

The Hens’ Ryan Allen netted 14 of his team-high 17 points in the second half of Sunday’s loss to Charleston. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

NEWARK — For about four minutes, Delaware couldn’t do anything wrong.

Ryan Allen was swishing three-pointers and nothing was falling for Charleston.

The next thing the Blue Hens knew, they had reeled off 13 unanswered points.

But, as is often the case, runs like that can’t last.

Delaware had dug itself too big a hole and the Cougars eventually held off the Hens for a 66-59 Colonial Athletic Association victory on Sunday afternoon at the Carpenter Center.

Delaware (1-1 CAA, 3-4 overall) had to settle for a split of the weekend two-game set after edging Charleston (1-1 CAA, 4-6 overall) by three just 24 hours earlier.

The Hens’ problem was that they trailed 49-32 before making their 13-point run. So the spree only got them within 49-45 with 7:49 remaining.

“At the start of the game, we didn’t come out with as much energy and toughness as we did the other day,” said senior center Dylan Painter, who finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. “We were fighting back the whole second half. I’m proud of how we battled but it just wasn’t enough at the start.”

While Charleston did stretch its lead back to 10 with two minutes remaining, the Cougars did leave the door open down the stretch.

UD senior Dylan Painter scored 15 points on Sunday, giving him a total of 31 in the two weekend games.

Trailing by six, the Hens had three possessions with a chance to get closer after Charleston uncharacteristically missed four straight foul shots. But Delaware turned the ball over twice and missed a shot before the Cougars finally made five of six foul shots in the final 26 seconds.

Missing starters Kevin Anderson (ankle) and Aleks Novakovich (foot), the Hens had only seven scholarship players available. Delaware seemed to face an uphill climb all afternoon as it never led in the contest.

“I think it’s difficult to play back-to-back,” said Painter. “A lot of guys are banged up and tired.”

“Not to make excuses for my team but we were down a couple bodies, 24 hours (between games), I think, in the first half, they were the tougher team, they were the more-ready team,” said senior guard Ryan Allen. “You’ve got get used to playing these 24-hour turnarounds because that’s the rest of the season basically. We’ve got to be able to sweep teams.”

Allen was on the court for a team-high 75 of the possible 80 minutes in the two-game set. He was also the one who sparked Sunday’s comeback.

Sophomore Johnny McCoy sank four key foul shots and took a pair of charges for the Hens.

After netting just three first-half points, Allen went on a personal 9-0 run in the second half, capped by a pair of three-pointers. He finished with a team-high 17 points.

Sophomore guard Johnny McCoy then went 4-for-4 from the foul line to get Delaware within 49-45.

But the Hens missed threes on two straight possessions, either one of which would have gotten them within a point.

“I would say we were being more aggressive,” Allen said about the comeback. “We kind of got stagnant with a play we just put in, that was successful for us in the first game. Kudos to their coach, they did a great job of making adjustments to that play.

“But we didn’t really get into a flow until the second half. That’s nobody’s fault. It’s just how the ball bounces sometimes.”
Allen and Painter were the only Delaware players to score in double figures.

The hero of Saturday’s win, freshman guard Marco Arletti, hit a couple big shots but totaled only seven points — nowhere near the 21 he scored in the first game.

The Hens hurt themselves at the foul line, hitting only 18-of-27 free throws. They also turned the ball over 14 times.

With Anderson’s status up in the air because of the high ankle sprain and CAA doubleheaders every weekend for the next two months, Delaware is going to have to adjust.

Clearly, the Hens have learned quickly that recovering physically between the two games is going to be big.

“You’ve got to hydrate a lot more than you usually do and stretch a lot more than you usually do,” said Allen. “It’s rough coming back from a two o’clock game yesterday to another two o’clock game today.”

“We got better this weekend,” said coach Martin Ingelsby. “We learned a lot about ourselves. We need to get some rest. … I’m proud of our group for being able to battle back and give ourselves a chance.”

Free throws

Allen became the 13th player in program history to score 1,300 career points. … The senior was 4-for-8 from three-point range on Sunday after going 0-for-5 on Saturday. … Payton Willis had a team-high 17 points for the Cougars, giving the Minnesota transfer 38 in the two games. … The Hens were trying to sweep Charleston in a season for the first time since 2015. … Delaware is at William & Mary next Saturday and Sunday.