Hot-shooting William & Mary pounds Blue Hen men 90-65

Ryan Daly

NEWARK — Delaware isn’t the first team that William & Mary has made look helpless with its offensive firepower.

But that doesn’t mean the Blue Hens thought it was OK that they got routed by the hot-shooting Tribe, 90-65, in CAA men’s basketball at the Carpenter Center on Friday night.

William & Mary stormed out to a 21-point halftime lead and never looked back in a contest it led by as many as 32.

And sophomore guard Ryan Daly wasn’t buying the excuse that Delaware now has only seven scholarship players after losing freshman guard Kevin Anderson to season-ending knee surgery on Thursday.

“We’ve been shorthanded,” said Daly, who tallied a team-high 21 points. “We’ve just got to play better — and everyone knows that. If they don’t then they’ve really got to have a wakeup call. We’ve all got to have a wakeup call if we think we’re playing well.

“I don’t really care how people we’ve got, we’ve got to play way better.”

The Tribe (3-0 CAA, 10-4 overall) was impressive, especially in the first half when it shot 65.6 percent (21-for-32). If 6-foot-10 center Nathan Knight (25 points, 11 rebounds) wasn’t scoring inside, then Matt Milon (career-high 22 points) was burying threes from the outside.

Knight and Milon were a combined 18-for-21 from the field in the contest. Milon was 6-for-8 just on three-pointers as the Tribe went 11-for-23 from beyond the arc as a team.

“They’re a talented offensive team,” said Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby. “And they got confident early against us. It was kind of a back-and-forth game and then we go into a little bit of a rut offensively and they kept rolling. It was kind of a buzzsaw and we could never dig ourselves out of a hole.

“If they’re shooting like that, I think they’re one of the best teams in our league. It’s a tough matchup for us.”

The game was tied at 13-13 when Delaware freshman Ryan Allen sank a three with 14:36 left in the first half. But the Tribe answered with back-to-back threes — including one from Knight — and it was off to the races.

William & Mary finished the first half on a 36-15 run to take a commanding 49-28 lead into halftime.

The loss was the second in a row for the Hens (1-2 CAA, 8-8 overall) after having a four-game winning streak snapped.

The question now is how well Delaware will be able to compete, night-in and night-out with such a short bench.

The Hens are expected to have an eighth scholarship player when sophomore Jacob Cushing returns from a broken nose later this month. But that won’t help Delaware on Sunday when it hosts UNC-Wilmington at 2 p.m.

Junior guard Darian Bryant, who scored 10 points on Friday, admits that William & Mary’s up-tempo offense wore out the Hens at times.

“At first we were right there with them,” he said. “And then we got a little fatigued — some guys got tired. Once one guy gets tired, it kind of breaks down the whole defensive mindset because of their offense.

“At some points, they were just running right by us. I don’t know, we just coudn’t keep up with them.”

Bryant said that having so few players the rest of the way is “definitely concerning.”

“But, at the same time, we’ve got to find a way to push through,” he said. “The guys we have play hard. … We’ve got to find a way to stay positive and take care of our bodies outside of basketball. I think if we stay positive, we’ll be good on the court. I think we have guys on our team that are tough enough mentally to handle it.”

Ingelsby clearly isn’t going to panic over the situation. When he was an assistant coach at Notre Dame, head coach Mike Brey regularly played only seven or eight guys.

Ingelsby said he just has to use his practice time wisely.

“These guys are 18 to 22-year-old kids,” he said. “I don’t want to make an excuse for them.

“I’ve got to be positive with them. I think that’s something I’ve probably got to do a better job of in trying to keep those guys upbeat.

“Working with Mike (Brey), I think he was a magician at managing a team through a season. I’m not as caught up in that (being shorthanded) because I think I have a feel for how to pace us through this. … But we do have to be really smart.”

Extra points

Delaware is playing UNC-Wilmington for the second time in eight days. The Hens beat the Seahawks, 58-56, on Dec. 30 in North Carolina. … William & Mary has won five straight meetings with Delaware. … Daly has netted 20 points or more in six games this season. … Senior forward Skye Johnson added 10 points for the Hens.

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