Horton hits Hen record 9 threes, scores 31 in win over UNCW

Ithiel Horton. UD sports information/Mark Campbell

WILMINGTON, N.C. — From the moment Ithiel Horton arrived in Trask Coliseum on Thursday, he just had a good feeling about the place.

“When I first got here, I was kind of looking at the rims a little bit,” said the Delaware freshman guard. “I’m like, ‘Wow, this is going to be a pretty good day.’ I knew once I got the first one up and it went, I’m like, ‘Yeah, it’s going to be a long day for them.’ ”

Horton then went out and backed up his bravado.

By the time he was done, Horton had tied the school record for most points by a freshman with 31 and broke the UD mark for three-pointers in a game with nine as the Blue Hens made it four wins in a row with a decisive 82-69 victory over UNC-Wilmington in CAA men’s basketball.

Horton hit the first four threes he took in the game before sinking 9-of-13 shots from beyond the arc. He was 10-of-15 from the floor overall.

“What can you say about him? He was ready to play,” Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby said about Horton. “He got us off to a great start from the three-point line. He made some deep ones. And when he gets going like, he’s as confident a kid as I’ve been around.

“He made some tough ones, some deep ones. We were just trying to get him the ball and move out of the way. What a fabulous performance and a show he put on tonight on a big stage against a really good basketball team.”

The Hens (4-1 CAA, 12-6) have now won four straight conference games for the first time since the 2013-14 season. The victory was also just their fifth in 16 all-time trips to Trask.

After a back-and-forth start to the game, Delaware went by as many as 13 late in the first half. The Hens were up 41-31 at halftime and held as much as a 17-point advantage in the second half against the Seahawks (2-2 CAA, 6-11 overall).

With Matt Veretto sinking a three to start the second half, Delaware never led by fewer than 11 points the rest of the night.

Besides Horton, senior Eric Carter added 14 points, 14 rebounds and four assists — his fourth straight double-double — with Ryan Allen netting 10 points. Six Hens tallied at least six points in the contest.

Delaware went 13-of-14 from the foul line and 15-of-35 from three-point range. The 15 three-pointers are tied for fourth most in school history while the 35 attempts are tied for third most.

While it’s still early in the conference season, first-place Hofstra (4-0 CAA) is the only team ahead of the Hens in the CAA standings. Delaware next plays at Charleston on Saturday at 4 p.m.

“It’s nice when you make some threes and you can weather a couple twos on the defensive end,” said Ingelsby. “I think you see a team that is getting some more synergy and cohesiveness on the offensive end — which is really fun to see.”

Horton said, despite the Hens’ success, they’d been playing a little too much one-on-one lately.

“We kind of came into this game with a different mindset,” said Horton. “We’re going to move the ball, we’re going to share the ball, get it inside, play through Eric (Carter) a little bit and then kick it out. That’s what happened and we got wide-open shots.”

Free throws

Thursday’s win was Delaware’s sixth on the road this season. The Hens were tied for fifth in Division I in road victories coming into the game. … Horton’s 31 points tied the freshman school record set by Jarvis Threatt. … This is Delaware’s second four-game winning streak of the season. … The Hens are off to their fifth CAA start of 4-1 or better since joining the league. … Delaware has won three in a row over UNCW.

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