Ryan Daly (above) continued an oustanding season with a buzzer-beater on Thursday night. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)
Austin Petolillo (@AustinPSports)
NEWARK, Del. -- One of the longest-running rivalries in the CAA is at the beginning of a new chapter in its storied history.
Thursday night was the 156th meeting between Drexel and Delaware, but only the second between Dragons coach Zack Spiker and Blue Hens coach Martin Ingelsby and their respective standout freshmen.
This game, like many others, did not disappoint one bit.
Drexel and Delaware played in another tight classic on Thursday night at the Bob Carpenter Center where Delaware freshman phenom Ryan Daly hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left to give the Blue Hens the victory 68-67.
“That was a heck of a basketball game back and forth,” Ingelsby said. “We had the lead, they had the lead, teams went up, then they battled back so it shows you a lot of resilience between both teams.”
This was the fourth straight season where both Drexel and Delaware split the regular season series one apiece. Drexel took the earlier matchup, 76-60, on January 14 in Philadelphia.
Although this matchup featured the bottom two teams in the CAA, there is certainly hope for a bright future between the two teams to battle out for a top spot in the conference.
Delaware improved to 12-16 (5-10 in CAA play) and plays William & Mary at home on Saturday night at 7:00.
The Blue Hens are on a bit of a roll, winning three straight games for the first time since 2014.
“We’re playing our best basketball at the right time.” Inglesby said. “We’re growing together and that’s what I told them leading into this game. We didn’t play very well against Drexel last time out, we’re a lot better basketball team today then we were a month ago.”
Part of that could be due to a starting lineup change that begins with the three main guards of Daly, Anthony Mosley and Darian Bryant, and the two forwards, Eric Carter and Jacob Cushing.
Anthony Mosley added 17 points to go along with his seven assists and Darian Bryant put in 15 points of his own.
“Anthony Mosley, Ryan Daly and Darian Bryant, they’re all attacking guards off the dribble that have really learned how to play together.” Inglesby said.
“It took a little bit to figure out the rotations and stuff but now I think this starting lineup is 3-0 together and I think we’re going to finish the season out real strong.” Daly said.
Daly, a 6-foot-4 guard out of Archbishop Carroll, finished the game with a game-high 24 points and 12 rebounds, giving him his fourth double-double this season. Heading into tonight, he was averaging 14.9 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game.
Daly was not the only freshman that put on a show on Thursday night. Drexel freshman point guard Kurk Lee, who had started in all of Drexel’s previous 27 games played, came off the bench on Thursday night and scored a team-high 21 points while shooting 5-8 from 3-point land.
Lee was averaging 14.7 points per game while shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc heading into tonight’s game.
Drexel dropped to 9-19 overall (3-12 in CAA play) and goes up against Elon at home on Saturday at 2:00.
Undoubtedly the biggest moment in the game came in the last 32 seconds.
Drexel senior John Moran hit a 3-pointer from the left elbow to put Drexel up by two with 30 seconds to go in the game but it was Daly and the Blue Hens who had the last laugh.
Daly held the ball on the left elbow, waited for the defensive switch to come and then stepped back to hit the three with 12 seconds to go.
“I didn’t really see any other options out there.” Daly said. “Maybe I could’ve gotten to the hole but I was kind of feeling it so I decided to shoot it. That was a hard shot. I’m not going to lie.”
“No surprise on who the ball was going to go to.” Inglesby said. “We got the switch that we anticipated and I wanted him to get all the way to the basket to try get to the foul line and see if he can get something closer but he’s just a gamer, he makes big plays, he makes winning plays.”
Drexel also got a strong contribution from senior forward Rodney Williams: 17 points, four rebounds and three assists.
On top of his game-winning shot, Daly also broke the Delaware freshman record for points in a season with 412 points, which beats out former standout Devon Saddler’s mark of 411 that he set in the 2010-11 season.
“They should just hand him the Rookie of the Year trophy right now.” Inglesby said.
“It’s a no-brainer.”