Blue Hens' comeback falls short against Drexel

By Andy Walter
Posted 2/26/24

NEWARK — Most of the time, Delaware has been able to stand toe-to-toe with rival Drexel.

Lately, though, the Dragons have clearly dominated the series.

That was the case again on …

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Blue Hens' comeback falls short against Drexel


NEWARK — Most of the time, Delaware has been able to stand toe-to-toe with rival Drexel.

Lately, though, the Dragons have clearly dominated the series.

That was the case again on Monday night as Drexel shook off an early 10-point deficit to down the Blue Hens, 70-60, in a CAA men’s basketball matchup at the Carpenter Center.

The Dragons (11-5 CAA, 18-11 overall) have now four straight over Delaware (9-7 CAA, 17-12 overall) for the first time since winning five in a row in between 1996-98. It’s also the first time Drexel has won three straight games in Newark since 1986-88 — when Delaware was still playing in the Fieldhouse.

The two most glaring stats on Monday were the fact that the Hens were just 10-of-18 from the foul line and 2-of-15 from three-point range.

“I thought we really battled for the first 15 minutes or so and had the fight, the toughness and the physicality,” said Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby. “We’ve got to score the basketball. Against a team like that you’ve got to be able to put some points up on the board. We just haven’t had it lately.”

The Hens’ 60-point total was their lowest in the last eight games.

Still, Delaware led for the first 16 minutes of the contest. But the game got away from the Hens at the end of the first half.

Drexel tallied 13 straight points to take a 33-27 advantage into intermission. The Dragons then hit a three-pointer to start the second half to make it a 16-point run.

“Fifty-fifty balls ... they beat us to the ground a lot,” said senior Christian Ray. “They beat us to offensive rebounds a lot, especially in big moments. We’ve got to do a better job with that.

“We’ve got to work our tails off for 40 minutes to beat them. I think we did a good job for the first 15 minutes and then we started to slip a little bit.”

Amari Williams, the Dragons’ 6-foot-10, 265-pound center from England, gives Drexel an advantage inside against most teams. But his presence is especially glaring against a team like Delaware, that doesn’t have a true center.

On Monday, Williams finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks.
He was one reason Drexel limited the Hens’ Jyare Davis to just 11 points and four rebounds.

Delaware did make a few runs in the second half. With 7:39 left, the Hens got the Dragons’ lead down to just 57-52 and then Drexel was called for a technical going into a timeout.

But Davis missed the two ensuing free throws and Delaware never got that close again.

Over the last three games, two of which were losses, the Hens are just 12-of-61 from beyond the three-point arc.

“Some guys have got to step up,” said Ingelsby. “We’ve got to maybe re-invent ourselves offensively.

“We were able to battle back with some stuff around the basket. But then you’ve got to be able to make some free throws to put some pressure on them.”

Ray registered another double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds while Niels Lane and Gerald Drumgoole, Jr. both added 10 points.

Delaware plays its home finale on Thursday night when it hosts Northeastern. Seniors Ray and Jalun Trent will both be honored before the game.

The Hens then close the regular season at Stony Brook on Saturday afternoon.

“For this group, it’s just staying together,” said Ingelsby. “It’s just trying to keep our group confident and trying to tweak a couple things.

“It’s a new season starting on Sunday. Everybody’s preparing to win a championship in D.C. But I think, in this moment, we’re dealing with some adversity. We’ve got to keep our heads up and keep finding ways to get better.”

Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at Follow on X at @DSNsports.

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