The Hornets Beat the Hens in the Route 1 Rivalry
By: Ethan Hennessy
Delaware State entering Wednesday night’s matchup was 11-4 all time against the Blue Hens of Delaware University. Furthermore, they were 2-8 on the season, and still searching for their first division one victory. However, the Hornets looked like the better team throughout the game as they beat their in state rival 73-71 at the Bob in Newark.
Delaware State had a roaster full of players with minimal to no division one experience entering this season, and as usual like many teams from the MEAC conference they had spent a good portion of November and December on the road. When I asked Saleik Edwards after the game about how difficult it is to play most of their non conference games on the road, and already be a leg down he gave the PC answer and said “they look at every game the same, and there isn’t a difference really”.
From my observation it looked like Delaware just came out flat assuming they would be able to put away their rivals from down south in Dover with minimal effort. Maybe that was them just looking ahead to the Christmas break and the start of conference play, or maybe it was them overlooking the competition, or both. But either way Delaware thought it would be easier then it proved to be. Even in defeat Delaware admitted DSU wanted it more, but hinted at the fact that it is probably a bigger game for the Hornets then the Blue Hens. Eric Carter who finished as the leading scorer for UD with 23 points and 15 rebounds said “this is their number one game and their super bowl”.
To start off the game Delaware State came out hot establishing an early lead and being reluctant to relinquish in spite of UD attempts. Ronald Lucas hit two back to back threes around the 1:49 mark of the first half to give the hornets a 36-31 lead. DSU maintained their advantage to the tune of 38-34 into the halftime break. Delaware did not have a particularly great crowd due in part to the fact that students were already on Christmas break, but the official attendance was only at 1,533 in the 5,000 seat arena for the route one rivalry.
Delaware’s small crowd was balanced out by the fact that DSU did not have many fans that made the journey up from Dover. Additionally, they didn’t even bring a full team. The Hornets had 11 players for the game, and when I asked a Delaware State reporter he said they started the year with 13 guys, but some of them were no longer on the team.
Despite that the Hornets came out the break with the foot on the gas for the first part of the second half. Hitting three after three eight total in the second half (13 for the game). However, Delaware slowly chipped away, and in the second half we got some of the chippiness that comes with a rivalry for a state when Eric Carter for the blue hens nearly came flying over the scorers table into my lap for a lose ball. He was then yelling at the ref that he was shoved. This was not the only incident. I asked Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby about it after the game he stated “DSU played really well. Sometimes our group gets caught up in the officials, and that is part of maturing being better, and not getting distracted in that are, but I thought it was a fairly well officiated game.
Delaware did not quit though. In the later part of the second half they fought back. The hens briefly took the lead. Delaware State had the ball at the end with 13 seconds left Pinkey Wiley went for a contested three pointer that missed, but Kevin Larkin chased down the rebound in the paint and laid it up with 4.2 seconds left to give Delaware State the 73-71 win.