WASHINGTON DC- For the first time since 2014, the Delaware Blue Hens are going dancing. It will be the first time in Martin Ingelsby’s six-year tenure that the Blue Hens will be playing in a postseason tournament.
It didn’t always look that promising for the preseason favorites. They came into the tournament on a three-game losing streak and clinched the five seed - a spot from which no team had ever won the CAA Tournament.
After its regular season ending loss to Towson, Ingelsby sent a text to his wife. He talked about it during the postgame press conference on Tuesday evening.
“I texted my wife Colleen, ‘We’re going to be back around 9:30. Let’s get a bottle of wine and drink our sorrows away,’” said Ingelsby. “She texted me right back and said, ‘Nope, you’re going to come home and figure this s*** out,’ and I needed to hear that.”
Delaware had a chip on its shoulder and no time for wine.— Nick Lorensen (@nlorensensports) March 9, 2022
They’re going dancing!!! pic.twitter.com/4vPC9WmHHn
The Blue Hens rolled through the first two rounds with ease, beating rival Drexel and regular season champion Towson both by double digits.
On the other side of the bracket, UNCW continued to battle as it did all season. It opened with a come-from-behind victory against pesky Elon, and followed that with a scrapy win against College of Charleston in the semifinal. However, its luck ran out in the title game against the Blue Hens.
UNCW held a small lead for most of the first 30 minutes, but Andrew Carr and Freshman of the Year Jyare Davis had different ideas.
They scored four straight points, giving Delaware the lead with 1:03 remaining. It would be all Delaware from there, closing out a 59-55 victory.
DELAWARE IS GOING DANCING FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2014. pic.twitter.com/thUeHGEkHv— Nick Lorensen (@nlorensensports) March 9, 2022
You know that “s***” that Ingelsby had to figure out… it was his defense. The Blue Hens had given up 69+ points in four straight games to end the regular season, allowing Charleston to score 99.
During the three games in the tournament, they gave up 56 twice and 55 once. Only once in the regular season had they given up less than that to a D1 opponent and that was to 2-26 Delaware State.
“I can’t say enough about our team and the belief in each other, the belief in our program,” Ingelsby said.
It was the first time since 2009 that a team held all three opponents below 60 points in the CAA Tournament.
Delaware is currently projected as a sixteen seed in Joe Lunardi’s bracketology.