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Coach critical of Red Flash in defeat

LORETTO — Rob Krimmel was embarrassed by his team’s performance Tuesday night.

The Saint Francis coach hasn’t used that word often during his eight-year tenure. If he’s said it more than once or twice after a game, it would be a surprise.

Krimmel called this loss embarrassing roughly half a dozen times following the Red Flash’s 79-64 drubbing against Delaware at DeGol Arena.

The Blue Hens, make no mistake, have a solid team. They’re 6-0 and appear to have all the components to be a really good low-major.

But Saint Francis didn’t show up to play, and it was obvious.

“Not pleased with our performance tonight,” Krimmel said. “Disappointed, embarrassed, missed opportunity, all of those things.

“That wasn’t a performance that was acceptable.”

The final score says a lot.

This stat says even more: In the second half, Delaware won the battle for 50-50 balls by a whopping 18-3, according to Krimmel’s numbers.

Any coach at any level of basketball would tell you that kind of lack of hustle is embarrassing. When it occurs at home, in a gym where Saint Francis has always played to a highly competitive level, it inevitably will be maddening to a coach.

Krimmel, who was denied his 100th career victory with the Flash, spent much longer than usual addressing the team in the locker room following the loss.

“After the game, I was emotional because there were some things that were glaring,” he said.

“(Coach Krimmel) was saying to me he hasn’t felt embarrassed too many times in his tenure here,” SFU standout senior Keith Braxton said.

The Flash (2-3) got off to a cold start, while Delaware was hitting early for an 11-2 lead. Saint Francis regrouped and stormed back, grabbed a 33-29 lead and trailed 38-37 at the break.

The second half, though, was a disaster.

“They destroyed us in the second half,” Braxton said.

Delaware made 18-of-29 shots, while SFU went ice cold at 11-for-28. Isaiah Blackmon, coming off a career-high 28 points Saturday against American, shot just 1-of-14 from the field and finished with four points.

As Braxton pointed out, Saint Francis had only nine assists in the game, while committing 10 turnovers.

There was a lot of hero ball being played. And not very well.

“Offensively, we’re playing real selfish right now,” Braxton said.

Again, Delaware has a strong team. Led by UAB transfer Nate Darling’s 28 points, the Blue Hens showed excellent fundamentals on offense — good spacing, good passing, good shooting — and they flat outhustled the Flash in the second half in building a 20-point lead (75-55).

“Everybody just has to hold themselves accountable individually and as a team,” Braxton said.

“We can’t keep having performances like this, especially at home.”

Braxton, Mark Flagg and Tyler Stewart scored 13 points apiece to lead Saint Francis. Delaware placed four players in double figures, and even if SFU had played well, the Blue Hens still may have proven to be the better team.

This Saint Francis team nearly pulled off a huge upset at Richmond two weeks ago before faltering late and losing in overtime. Krimmel had to have a tough conversation with his guys after that frustrating loss, about bouncing back in a game they played well.

His message after this loss to Delaware was different.

“The Richmond one was more disappointment,” Krimmel said. “This one’s more embarrassment.

“A game like this, when you have disappointment and embarrassment, that if used appropriately can springboard some things in the future.”

The Flash had better figure some things out in a hurry in practice this week, since they have a tall task Saturday with a trip to Florida State.

“We’ve got to find a way to learn from this one,” Krimmel said.

DELAWARE (6-0): Mutts 6-9 2-4 15, Goss 5-8 0-0 10, K.Anderson 6-9 0-0 14, Allen 4-11 0-0 9, Darling 9-16 6-7 28, Cushing 0-1 0-0 0, Novakovich 0-0 0-0 0, Asamoah 0-1 1-2 1, McCoy 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 31-56 9-13 79.

ST. FRANCIS (2-3): Thompson 2-5 1-1 5, Blackmon 1-14 2-2 4, Dixon-Conover 1-3 0-0 2, Braxton 5-9 2-3 13, Stewart 4-10 4-6 13, Flagg 6-9 1-1 13, Kuzavas 0-0 4-4 4, Meredith 3-8 0-0 8, Gaskins 1-1 0-0 2, Laskey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-59 14-17 64.

Halftime–Delaware 38-37. 3-Point Goals–Delaware 8-19 (Darling 4-8, K.Anderson 2-3, Mutts 1-2, Allen 1-4, Cushing 0-1, Goss 0-1), St. Francis 4-22 (Meredith 2-4, Braxton 1-3, Stewart 1-4, Dixon-Conover 0-1, Thompson 0-2, Blackmon 0-8). Fouled Out–None. Rebounds–Delaware 29 (Mutts 11), St. Francis 31 (Flagg 8). Assists–Delaware 14 (K.Anderson, Mutts, Darling 3), St. Francis 9 (Meredith, Blackmon, Braxton, Stewart 2). Total Fouls–Delaware 20, St. Francis 11. A–901 (3,500).

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