Local college notebook: Schedule to get tougher for unbeaten Blue Hens

Junior Nate Darling is averaging a team-best 22.5 ppg for the 9-0 Blue Hens. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

There are 353 NCAA Division I teams in men’s college basketball.

So there are seemingly endless ways for a coach to put together a non-conference schedule.

And when coach Martin Ingelsby was setting up Delaware’s early-season schedule, he wanted to give the Blue Hens a chance to be competitive every time they took the floor.

“I handled our schedule at Notre Dame and we’d always say, put together a schedule that will give your group confidence,” said the former Fighting Irish assistant. “And I think that’s how we’ve built this schedule. We had a tough challenge (playing three games in three days) early in Orlando, then some winnable road games and then you have three in a row at home.

“We have nine games under our belt. We kind of know who we are. We’re still learning about our group but we’re going to be a lot more confident group than we would have been if we would have played in one of these big events, been 4-5 and gotten our doors beaten in.”

The result has been a school-best 9-0 start for the Blue Hens. That record has earned them a No. 40 spot in the RPI rankings and even gotten them a vote in the AP Top 25 poll.

“I’m really happy where we are, having taken care of business,” said Ingelsby.

But now things are going to start getting more challenging for Delaware.

Today the Hens go on the road to face George Washington at 4 p.m. The Colonials are only 4-5 but they play in the more highly-regarded Atlantic 10.

Then, next Saturday, the Hens take on Villanova in Newark, N.J. The Wildcats may not be considered a national-title contender at the moment but they’re still a solid Top-25 team.

If the Hens have a glaring weakness right now, it’s their lack of bench production.

Their reserves are averaging less than 10 points per game. In Monday’s 84-76 win over Columbia, Delaware got just three points from non-starters.

The Hens should get a significant boost when 6-foot-10 Villanova transfer Dylan Painter becomes eligible in a couple weeks. But Ingelsby also knows his bench has to contribute more.

“They’re young,” he said. “We’re going to need them. We’ve been fortunate with our health so far. They’re ready. I think they’re waiting for an opportunity. They compete every day in practice.

“But we do need a little pop from them. And I’ve got to help them. That’s on me, too, to try to help those guys get a little more confident and find ways where they can impact the game.”

Allen shining at Lynn already

Jordan Allen’s career at Lynn University has gotten off to a hot start.

The former Dover High standout is averaging a team-high 18.5 points per game for Lynn. He is in his first season with the Division II Florida squad after transferring from Rider University.

Allen announced his arrival in a big way during an exhibition game at the University of Florida a month ago. He scored 35 of Lynn’s 71 points against the Gators and made nine three-pointers.

Former Dover High standout Jordan Allen is in his first season at Lynn after transferring from Rider. Lynn sports information photo

“Jordan Allen was fantastic, my goodness,” Florida coach Mike White said that night. “We allowed him to get going and then he hit some tough, guarded shots.”

Allen also went 9-of-11 from three-point range against Clayton State on Nov. 29. He netted his career high that night with 37 points.

Allen only played 90 seconds in Lynn’s most recent game this week, leaving with an injury against Barry. He was averaging 23 points per game before that contest.

Lynn is 4-1 overall with its only loss coming against Barry when Allen was injured.

Daly putting up points

Ryan Daly finds himself in a familiar position at St. Joe’s.

Four years ago, he was new coach Martin Ingelsby’s first recruit at Delaware. The rebuilding Hens needed the freshman guard to score and he responded with 16 points a game and the CAA Rookie of the Year award.

Daly set UD freshman record for both points and rebounds. He also took over 200 shots more than anybody else on the squad.

Now, after sitting out last season following his move to St. Joe’s, Daly is the main scorer for the rebuilding Hawks. The junior guard is averaging 20.9 points and 8.4 rebounds under first-year coach Billy Lange.

Daly has scored 23 points or more six times in just nine games. That includes 30 in a win over Connecticut.

Daly, though, has also taken more than twice as anybody else for St. Joe’s, which is only 2-7.

Notes

• Smyrna High product Tony Wuest, now at McDaniel College, has won the Centennial Conference Wrestler of the Week award twice this season. Wuest, who transferred from North Carolina State, has already recorded nine pins on the season entering this weekend.

• Tight end D.J. Cornish (Lake Forest) was awarded first-team All-PSAC East honors in football this year playing at Shepherd University. Cornish had 20 receptions for 338 yards and three touchdowns for his senior season. It was the third time he earned all-conference honors in his career.

Kylie Kornegay-Lucas is averaging 8.8 points per game in her first year on the University of Virginia women’s basketball team. The former Caesar Rodney High player won ACC Freshman of the Week on Nov. 25 after her first career double-double with 31 points and 12 rebounds in an overtime win against Old Dominion.

• Former Polytech High standout Juwan Gray has returned to the court at Towson. The Dover native, who sat out last season after transferring from San Diego, is averaging 8.9 points and 3.6 rebounds for the Tigers.

The 6-foot-8 junior has reached double figures three times, including netting a season-high 19 against GW.

Caleb Matthews has also gotten some playing time at NJIT. The former Smyrna High standout, who spent last year at a prep school, has hit a pair of three-pointers for the Highlanders.

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