DOVER – Delaware’s dominance over Delaware State came inevitably but also rather belatedly at Memorial Hall Thursday night.
The Blue Hens did manage to down depleted DSU 59-48 in their basketball showdown at Memorial Hall, earning the Route One Rivalry Trophy.
But victory and some daunting defense were among the few delights Delaware drew from its bout with the tenacious Hornets in front of a typically boisterous crowd of 1,200.
The 59 points were a season low for Delaware. Though Delaware State, which is missing six players due to injuries and other reasons, was clearly overmatched while shooting 34 percent and committing 23 turnovers, it still made sure Delaware earned its win.
“They slowed the game down on us, took a lot of time off the shot clock,” Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby said after complimenting first-year Hornets coach Stan Waterman and his team.
“We could just never get into a good rhythm offensively. Missed some shots, thought we had some good shots early. And 18 turnovers [for Delaware], that’s way too many.”
Delaware, which led by six at halftime, did lead by 20 with 3:36 left. The Hens didn’t score again and Ingelsby actually put his five starters back in the game with 29 seconds left after DSU pulled to within 11 following a spate of UD turnovers.
It was the 21st meeting between the state’s lone Division I programs. The Blue Hens lead the all-time series 16-5. This was the 10th game in Dover and the host Hornets have prevailed just once here, in the 2009-10 season.
Delaware (6-3) will be back in action Sunday at 2 p.m. against UMBC at the Carpenter Center.
Jameer Nelson Jr. scored 16 points and Ryan Allen delivered 14 to lead Delaware.
“It wasn’t as clean as we wanted it to be,” Nelson said. “A win is a win. We’ll go back to the drawing board, get ready for Sunday.’’
Delaware State (2-5) faces a tough test at Liberty Saturday.
Myles Carter scored a game-high 17 points for DSU and Corey Perkins, the freshman out of Sanford, had 10.
“My biggest takeaway from tonight’s game is one of the things we’re working on is learning how to compete for 40 minutes and the guys didn’t quit. They played hard right to the end,” said Waterman, the former Blue Hens guard in his first year as DSU coach after 30 at Sanford School.
“We’re short-handed, we’re injured, but they’re fightin’. That’s a good team. That’s one of the better UD teams I’ve seen in a long time. Coach is doing a nice job with them. They’re balanced, inside-outside, they’re smart, they play well together. It was a good test for us.”
Delaware never trailed but didn’t start well, missing 10 straight field-goal attempts in the opening 10 minutes, which ended with Delaware ahead 5-4. The Blue Hens did find their shooting touch, and took their biggest first-half lead when Gianmarco Arletti’s putback dunk, his 3-pointer and Allen’s 3-pointer made it 26-17.
But DSU, which had several long spells without a field goal, did cut the deficit to 26-20 going into halftime on Carter’s fast-break layup at the buzzer. The Hornets had 12 turnovers and Delaware 10 in an often unsightly first half.
Delaware took charge with a 16-2 second-half burst in which it scored on seven straight possessions and went ahead 53-30. Delaware was 5-for-12 on second-half 3-pointers.
Those stretches were too infrequent in Ingelsby’s eyes, though he was happy with Delaware’s defensive pressure.
“We dug in and guarded,” he said.
The 48 points were DSU’s fewest his season and the fewest Delaware has allowed.
However, with Delaware eyeing CAA title contention, “We gotta be better,” Ingelsby said.
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This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Hornets a handful at times but Blue Hens pull away for basketball win