Hens show they still have work to do after loss

Delaware’s Kevin Anderson drives to drive the ball against Morgan State’s Sherwyn Devonish-Prince on Monday night. (Delaware sports information/Allison Fossner)

NEWARK — Nobody said this was going to be easy.

When Delaware lost two of its top players in the off-season, the Blue Hens knew they were going to face some growing pains.

The fact that the pandemic has limited Delaware’s court time doesn’t help, either.

Monday night, the Hens had one of those nights when they weren’t sure where their next basket was coming from before they eventually fell to Morgan State, 65-59, in a men’s basketball game at the empty Carpenter Center.

It was only the fifth game of the year for Delaware (2-3), which went through a COVID-19 shutdown at the start of the season. But with only Colonial Athletic Association games on the schedule the rest of the way, the non-conference loss was a little disconcerting for coach Martin Ingelsby.

“Testament to Morgan State, I thought they were the tougher, more physical basketball team,” he said. “And that really bothered us. At the end of the day, we’ve got to be able to put the ball in the hoop.

“They were the tougher basketball team — physically, mentally,” Ingelsby repeated. “They wanted it more than us. We’re searching a little bit. We’re reeling.”

The Hens’ Dylan Painter goes up to block a shot by Morgan State’s Moel Camara on Monday night. (Delaware sports information/Allison Fossner)

The Hens did get a season-high 22 points from senior guard Ryan Allen as well as a career-high 12 from sophomore guard Johnny McCoy. But those two players were 11-of-20 from the floor.

The rest of Delaware’s players were just 5-of-31.

Overall, the Hens shot 31.4 percent from the floor (16-of-51), 24.1 percent from three-point range (7-for-29) and 66.7 percent from the foul line (20-of-30).

The three-point shooting numbers might have been the most glaring. Several of the misses were on wide-open shots. Allen, who was 4-for-9 from beyond the arc, is the only Delaware player who hit more than one.

An Allen three-pointer did get the Hens within 56-55 with 2:03 remaining. But Delaware never got any closer against the Bears (3-2).

One of the players that Delaware lost in the off-season was high-scoring guard and three-point shooter Nate Darling, who decided to go pro. He’s trying to make the Charlotte Hornets’ roster as a free agent.

“The three-point shot, you’ve kind of just got to live with the results,” said Allen. “You’ve just got to find another way to put points on the board.

“The three-point shot, basically that’s our game. As a team, that’s how we played the last couple years. This year, pretty much everybody can shoot the ball. We’re living and dying with the results. Tonight it just didn’t go our way.”

Delaware did have some good offensive stretches on Monday night. The Hens started the second half on a 10-3 run to open up a 35-31 advantage.

But they also suffered through many scoreless stretches that last three or four minutes.

In Delaware’s four games against Division I opponents this season, it’s netted 59 points, 61 points twice and 68 points. That’s a difficult way to try to win games.

“I’m still trying to figure out who we are offensively,” said Ingelsby. “We don’t have an identity. … Obviously we lost some pretty potent offensive weapons off last year’s team and we’ve got some new guys in new roles.

“I think everything’s on the table right now trying to figure out who we are on that end. That’s something that’s been on my mind lately — trying to get into a better rhythm on the offensive end. We’ve got to play a little more differently than we have in the past. Maybe it’s got to be more structured and not as free-flowing as we’ve been.”

Free throws

Morgan State got a team-high 22 points from 6-foot-9 Troy Baxter, who played at both UNLV and Florida Gulf Coast at the start of his career. … The Bears out-rebounded the Hens, 41-32. … Delaware doesn’t play again until Jan. 2-3 when it host Charleston in its first CAA, back-to-back games.

WOMEN, George Mason 69, Delaware State 46: The Patriots built a 34-15 halftime lead before downing the Hornets in a non-conference game on Monday night.

Naomi Shorts, with 12 points, was the only player who scored in double figures for DelState (1-2). The Hornets shot only 28.1 percent (18-of-64) for the contest.

George Mason out-rebounded DelState, 51-31.