Delaware Blue Coats go cold in crunch time and drop a vital game to Capital City Go-Go

Ricky Council IV stands in the corner. Council recorded 27 points and six rebounds in the loss. - Monday, March 11, 2024. - Photo via Payton Tuorto

After entering the month of March with a 16-6 record and their eyes on a top seed, the Delaware Blue Coats (19-14) are fading down the stretch. The trend continued on Wednesday, March 27, dropping their eighth game of the month after a 122-116 loss to the Capital City Go-Go (19-14), who now move into a three-way tie for the fourth seed, with the Blue Coats and Long Island Nets (19-14). 

The three two-way guys, Jeff Dowtin Jr, Ricky Council IV, and Terquavion Smith, were all with the Blue Coats for this game and made their presence known immediately, scoring the first 24 points for Delaware and totaling 46 of the Coats’ 65 first-half points. 

“The chemistry has to be there,” Council said. “Me and Jeff warm up before every game together, playing two-on-two against the coaches, so the more you play together with anybody, the chemistry is always going to be there.”

The two-ways finished the day with 81 of the Blue Coats 116 points, with Dowtin totaling 29, Council scoring 27, and Smith adding 25. Pat McCaw was the only other player to score over 10, with 12 points.

Unfortunately for Delaware, it was the same story it’s been for the past month. They struggled to defend the Go-Go’s cuts in the first half, leading to 40 of their 67 total points coming from inside, and once again struggled on the glass, totaling just 36 rebounds compared to Capital City’s 63.

“Obviously we got to rebound the ball better, they killed us on the glass,” head coach Mike Longabardi said. “We’re obviously smaller, we gotta scrap… but there’s some stuff that we can definitely get better at for sure”

Despite this, the Blue Coats hung tough, taking a three-point lead into the final frame. But things quickly spiraled out of control with 8:19 left to play. From this point on, Delaware struggled to find the bottom of the net, going nearly four and a half minutes without a basket. While the Coats struggled to score, the Go-Go did not and went on a 10-0 run to take the lead, and never looked back.

“It was a combination of good defense and poor shot selection,” Longabardi said. “I’m a big believer in the snowball effect. If you don’t get a good shot on offense, it’s going to hurt you on defense and if you don’t get a stop on defense it’s going to hurt you because you’re going against a set defense on offense, so I think it was definitely a combination of both.”

Now with the regular season finale coming up on Saturday, and home-court advantage still up for grabs, the message is simple. 

“We gotta win, that’s the bottom line,” Longabardi said. “We’ve invested a lot of time, guys have worked their tails off and we’re going to go out there, go out and compete and win, that’s the mindset.”

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