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UD men's basketball at the CAA Tournament semifinals

Blue Hens' late rally falls short

Photo by Mark Campbell

Hofstra wins CAA Tournament semifinals

The University of Delaware cut a 22-point deficit to eight with a late second half charge but could not get closer as the Blue Hens fell to top-seeded Hofstra, 75-61, in the CAA Tournament Semifinals Monday night, March 9, at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.

Nate Darling and Justyn Mutts each scored 13 points on the night for the Blue Hens, while Ryan Allen and Kevin Anderson added 11 each. Delaware dominated inside by holding a 38-12 points in the paint advantage, but shot just 42.4% from the field including 5 of 23 from behind the arc.

The Pride, which got 24 points from Eli Pemberton and 19 from Jalen Ray, shot only 40.0% but connected on 12 of 23 three-point attempts and finished 23 of 29 from the foul line.

Hofstra buried four early triples and used a nine-point run to take a 14-4 lead less than four minutes into the game. The Pride was still up 17-9 a minute later before the Blue Hens countered with a 10-0 spurt, going in front 19-17 on a Mutts three-point play at the 12:08 mark.

Johnny McCoy drained a three-pointer two minutes later to knot the contest at 22-22, but Hofstra scored the next 13 points to take command. The Pride's lead eventually grew to 14 before Collin Goss converted in the paint to make it a 40-28 game at the half.

The Blue Hens pulled within 47-37 on a Mutts layup with 13:32 to play before the Pride used an 11-point run to extend the margin to 58-37 at the 9:33 mark.

Hofstra was up 22 a minute and a half later but Delaware responded by scoring 11 consecutive points, closing within 63-52 on two Allen free throws with 5:43 to play. The Blue Hens cut the margin to eight twice in the final two and a half minutes, but could not get closer.

Martin Ingelsby: "This was a tough one for us but tip your hat to Hofstra. They played well in the first half, especially on the offensive end. I'm proud of our group, we were down 22 but cut it to eight. We got some stops and were able to get back in the game, but they made plays at the end. This group has moved our program forward and our main focus all year has been to continue to get better. They've worked extremely hard and although we're disappointed in the outcome, I couldn't be more excited about our future."

Nate Darling: "We dominated the points in the paint, but sometime the outside shots don't fall. Their matchup zone is hard to play against and I rushed a few shots, but credit to them."

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