NEWARK — There’s always been something slightly mysterious about three-point shooting.
When they’re going in, they can make a team look unbeatable.
But when those outside shots aren’t falling — even though they’re being taken by the same players — that squad can look helpless.
There were several reasons why Delaware fell to Towson, 69-62, in a CAA men’s basketball showdown at the Carpenter Center on Monday night.
The list of miscues, though, would have to start with the fact that the Blue Hens (5-3 CAA, 14-7 overall) managed to sink just 5-of-26 three-point attempts.
A couple more threes might have made all the difference in a contest in which Delaware missed its final five shots from the floor. With the Hens trailing 65-62, senior Ryan Allen — the program’s all-time leading three-point scorer — missed one more three with eight seconds left.
The miss sealed the Hens’ fate as the Tigers (6-2 CAA, 15-6) sank four foul shots in the final 6.2 seconds. The loss was just the second in the last seven games for Delaware, which led by as many as eight points in the first half.
“I don’t know, it was just one those days really, that the ball wasn’t going in for us,” said senior guard Kevin Anderson.
“We settled for a lot of threes,” said UD coach Martin Ingelsby. “There were some questionable shots on the offensive end. I’ve got to do a better job helping us and directing us.
“Sometimes it’s the law of averages. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t go in the hoop. I thought we had some good looks in both halves that we missed.”
The Hens did get hot in one stretch of the second half.
With Delaware trailing by 11, Ebby Asamoah sank back-to-back threes followed by a three-point play to get the Hens within two. Allen then drove for three straight baskets, tying the contest at 50-50 with 10:50 left.
Finally, a three from Anderson capped an 18-4 run and put Delaware up 53-50 with 9:39 to go.
But then offense became a struggle again for the Hens. A three-pointer from Jason Gibson with 8:17 remaining put Towson ahead to stay at 57-55.
The Hens sank just two of their last 11 shots.
Both squads were playing their third game in five days and neither Delaware (76 ppg) or the Tigers (72.8) reached their per-game scoring averages.
“We gave ourselves a chance and we only made six threes,” said Anderson, who finished with nine points and six assists. “To lose how we lost tonight ... I’m not going to say I’m OK with this loss. But it’s not as bad as it seems.”
“I thought we did enough on the defensive end,” said Ingelsby. “We battled.”
The Tigers got double-digit scoring from three players, led by Cameron Holden (19), who went 9-of-10 from the foul line. As a team, Towson hit 15-of-20 free throws.
For the game, the Tigers were 24-of-54 while Delaware was an almost-identical 23-of-54. Towson made only one more three (6-of-17) but four more free throws.
The Hens were led by Andrew Carr (14 points), Asamoah (12) and Painter (11).
After having both of last year’s games canceled by COVID, Monday’s contest was the first time the two teams met since Feb. 6, 2020.
But now they’re going to play twice in four days. Towson will host Delaware on Thursday at 7 p.m.
It will give the Hens a quick chance to fix some of Monday’s mistakes.
“We’ve got the chance to beat them on their own floor,” said Anderson.
Polytech High grad Juwan Gray, a grad student for Towson, collected four points and four rebounds. He sank a pair of key free throws with 6.2 seconds remaining. ... Delaware was 7-0 at home before Monday’s loss. The Hens had won nine straight in the Carpenter Center ... Delaware hadn’t even trailed in its last two games. ... Painter was named the CAA Co-Player of the Week on Monday after matching his career high with 23 points in Saturday’s win over Elon.