Delaware downs Hofstra in CAA Tournament opener, sets up Saturday game vs. UNCW

Noah Thomas, Sports Editor

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It went down to the wire, but UNC Wilmington now knows its opponent for the CAA Tournament’s quarterfinals.

No. 9 Delaware downed No. 8 Hofstra 81-76 in the weekend’s tipoff game, cementing the Blue Hens’ Saturday date with the top-seeded Seahawks on Saturday. It will be their third matchup of the season.

UNCW swept its annual home-and-home series with the Blue Hens with convincing victories on the road in Newark and at home in Trask Coliseum. The latter occasion saw the Seahawks hit a school record 21 3-pointers in a 108-80 blowout.

Four Blue Hens reached double figures in their victory Friday night. But it was Ryan Daly, named CAA Rookie of the Year this week, led Delaware (13-19) with 27 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in his first postseason game as a college player.

He didn’t want the tournament’s opening game to be his last with Delaware’s core group of seniors.

“I thought about it on the way here,” Daly said. “Once the ball got tipped I kind of just forgot about it.”

Delaware faced an eight-point deficit at intermission. Blue Hen coach Martin Ingelsby credited his team’s defensive adjustments to keeping Hofstra (15-17) to just 29 points in the second half.

“We really tried to take it to them at the three-point line,” said Ingelsby. “We tweaked our defense and tried to make them take some tough two-point shots.”

The Blue Hens will tip off vs. UNCW at noon on Saturday. The winner will advance to the CAA semifinals against the winner of William & Mary and Elon.