Blue Hens out­last Louisiana Tech

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By ADRIAN MAR­TIN

Spe­cial to the Whig

— It was a trial by fire, but the rook­ies stepped up.

The Univer­sity of Delaware men played their clos­est home game of the sea­son by far on

Mon­day night, beat­ing Louisiana

Tech 75-71 in the fi­nal con­test of the Delaware In­vi­ta­tional.

Due to their re­cent suc­cess,

Blue Hens head coach Mar­tin

In­gelsby placed fresh­men Ithiel

Hor­ton and Matt

Veretto into the start­ing lineup. Each one played nearly the en­tire con­test, and Hor­ton scored in dou­ble fig­ures for the fifth straight game.

“I thought star ting them gives us the

NE­WARK, DEL.

most po­tent of­fen­sive group,” In­gelsby said. “It takes a lit­tle pres­sure off Eric Carter and Kevin An­der­son. There was re­ally good bal­ance on the of­fen­sive end, and that’s a heck of a win for our bas­ket­ball team.”

Carter notched game highs in points (23) and re­bounds (8), while Hor­ton scored 18 points. Dar­ian Bryant and An­der­son also reached dou­ble fig­ures with 12 and 11 points, re­spec­tively.

The back-and-forth con­test fea­tured six ties and six lead changes, and Delaware’s 75-68 ad­van­tage with 5.7 sec­onds left was the big­gest lead for ei­ther team. In­gelsby praised his play­ers for stay­ing tough against a Bull­dog team that went a per­fect 11-for-11 from the foul line and made eight 3-point­ers.

“I’m re­ally proud of our zone,” he said. “I thought our zone de­fense re­ally neu­tral­ized some of their ath­leti­cism, and their abil­ity to get out in tran­si­tion. We talked head­ing into the game about be­ing the more to­gether group for 40 min­utes, and I’m proud how we ex­e­cuted on of fense and de­fense down the stretch. Games like this pre­pare us for con­fer­ence play.”

Af­ter trail­ing or ty­ing for the first sev­eral min­utes, Tech surged ahead 2116, but Hor­ton quickly tied the game with a 3-pointer and two free throws. The Bull­dogs went ahead again 25-22, but Carter re­sponded by sup­ply­ing all the points in Delaware’s 8-0 run — the longest for ei­ther team in the game — with two free throws and three straight buck­ets in­side the paint. He re­mained a force un­der the hoop through the rest of the game.

“The of­fense is not pred­i­cated on me, but we like to play through the post,” he said. “We feel that gets us in a good flow. The guards did a good job of get­ting me the ball. (Tech) was dou­bling in the be­gin­ning, but we were find­ing open guys. They had to loosen up and that’s when I de­cided to at­tack.”

Carter’s surge gave the Hens (52) a lead they wouldn’t re­lin­quish through the rest of the first half, as they stayed in front 35-33 at the buzzer.

Delaware main­tained a small lead through the first 10 min­utes of the sec­ond half, but then the Bull­dogs (4-3) put to­gether a 10-3 run for a 59-56 ad­van­tage with 6:40 left. The mo­men­tum was short­lived, how­ever, as a Tech player was charged with a tech­ni­cal foul. Hor­ton knocked down both free throws, and Veretto made his big­gest shot of the night, a 3-pointer that put the Hens back on top, 6159. Delaware would not trail again.

“The one thing I love about this team is that we have more weapons,” In­gelsby said. “Ithiel and Matt know they have the green light if they get a good look. We

got a good drive down the base­line, and Matt Veretto gets a wideopen three from the cor­ner. Those guys are con­tin­u­ing to get more com­fort­able in our of­fense.”

With the Hens still cling­ing to a 68-66 lead with less than three min­utes to play, An­der­son mo­tored his way in­side for a pair of layups around a Bull­dog turnover to make it 72-66. It was a mo­ment of redemp­tion for the sopho­more who had been dogged by foul trou­ble for much of the sec­ond half.

“It’s a lit­tle bit of ‘pick your poi­son’ with how you want to de­fend us, and he got some driv­ing ar­eas,” In­gelsby said. “Some­times he can be on the ball a lit­tle too much, but those were some big drives for him that helped us win the game.”

The Blue Hens still led 72-68 with a minute left. Tech had three chances to cut into that lead on its next trip down the floor, but Carter blocked a shot, and then the Bull­dogs missed a 3-pointer and a layup. They were forced to

foul Carter, who hit one of two bonus foul shots to make it 73-68 with 17.8 sec­onds left. Af­ter Tech missed again, Hor­ton, who like Carter had been in the mid­dle of every­thing all night, made his last two free throws to fin­ish a per­fect 7-for-7.

“I’ve just been trust­ing the sys­tem and trust­ing what Coach In­gelsby has in store for me,” Hor­ton said. “We just wanted to come out in the sec­ond half and stay strong.”

Oliver Pow­ell led the Bull­dogs with 14 points. In­cred­i­bly, both teams went 26-for-47 from the floor for a 55.3 shoot­ing per­cent­age.

The Hens were happy to end their home­s­tand with a win af­ter fall­ing apart in the sec­ond half against UNC Greens­boro last Fri­day.

“This is def­i­nitely a state­ment win,” Carter said. “We kinda got smacked around by UNCG so it’s good to bounce back and get the win, and hope­fully we can get it rolling up to UMES and Columbia.”

UD PHOTO/MARK CAMP­BELL

Delaware sopho­more guard Kevin An­der­son (1) drives past a de­fender dur­ing the Blue Hens’ 75-71 win over vis­it­ing Louisiana Tech on Mon­day.

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