CAA Round-up: Delaware remains on top

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By AARON COLEMAN

Philahoops Staff

@shutupcole

With 8:52 to go in the second half, the Delaware Blue Hens’ 11-game win streak appeared to be history as the College of Charleston Cougars continued to pound their new conference rivals in front of a stunned Bob Carpenter Center crowd. Delaware had just recently lost Jarvis Threatt and Marcus King-Davis, both starters, to suspension and the team looked to have finally hit the proverbial wall.

However, head coach Monte Ross’ embattled squad never quit and began to chip away at the Cougars’ huge lead slowly but surely. Before anyone on C of C’s bench could blink, Delaware guard Davon Usher had dropped 42 points and had given the Blue Hens a late lead following a converted and-one with 31 seconds to go. A few moments later, the undisputed best team in the Colonial Athletic Association had maybe their most impressive win of the season.

Head Coach Ross has a confidence in his team that allows him to always remain calm. He said on the weekly CAA teleconference, “I really can’t say enough about our leadership. It looked bleak. We were down 20 with eight to go. We kept plugging away. They believe that they are going to find a way and that it is a 40-minute game. If we don’t get going early, they are going to get going late.”

That kind of mentality has to be scary for every other team in the CAA as Delaware remains undefeated in conference play with a record of 11-0. In five of Delaware’s 11 CAA wins, they have had to overcome a deficit for the W. The Blue Hens believe in their offensive abilities so much that a 10 (even 20)-point deficit is not enough to rattle them, even when missing two of their best players. When the CAA tourney kicks off in just over two weeks, that kind of attitude will help Delaware have a leg up over every other team even in a neutral setting.

Many thought they would stumble after suspending two of their best, but in reality, the Delaware Blue Hens may be better than ever and they picked maybe the best time to hit their stride.

 

College of Charleston

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 Record on the Week: 1-1 (Overall: 13-13, CAA: 5-6)

 Feb. 8 – C of C 61, Towson 68

 Feb. 13 – Drexel 46, C of C 47

 Player of the Week: Willis Hall (12 ppg, 8 apg)

The Cougars kicked the week off by traveling to Towson but left disappointed after losing in overtime. The Cougars shot just 3 of 12 in the extra period and 31 percent overall. The Cougars looked to be headed for another loss Thursday at home against Drexel but Hall hit a baseline off-balance jumper with two seconds remaining to overcome the poor play of his team’s offense.

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 15 vs. Northeastern; Feb. 19 vs. William & Mary

 

 Delaware

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 Record on the Week: 1-0 (Overall: 19-7, CAA: 11-0)

 Feb. 12 – JMU 65, Delaware 81

 Player of the Week: G Davon Usher (34 points, 8 rebounds)

The Blue Hens stretched their win streak to 13 games following a dominant home win over James Madison. Usher added 34 points (on 4 of 7 shooting from deep) and eight boards to lead UD’s scorers, while Carl Baptiste recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 boards.

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 17 vs. Towson; Feb. 19 at Hofstra

 

Drexel

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 Record on the Week: 1-1 (Overall: 13-11, CAA: 5-6)

Feb. 8 – JMU 60, Drexel 78

 Feb. 13 – Drexel 46, C of C 47

Player of the Week: G Frantz Massenat (16 ppg, 3.5 rpg)

 The Dragons picked up an easy home win Saturday against JMU, holding the Dukes to just 37 percent shooting while getting a 26-point performance from Chris Fouch. Drexel seemingly left their offense in Philadelphia, however, as they shot just 32 percent against College of Charleston Thursday night with Massenat missing two potentially game-clinching free throws late and Fouch missing a buzzer-beating lay-in.

 Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 16 vs. Hofstra; Feb. 19 at JMU

 

 Hofstra

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 Record on the Week: 1-1 (Overall: 8-18, CAA: 4-7)

 Feb. 8 – UNCW 52, Hofstra 61

 Feb. 10 – Hofstra 53, JMU 59

 Player of the Week: F Zeke Upshaw (15.5 ppg, 5 rpg)

The Pride ended the first half of their home contest with UNCW down 35-21 and were in danger of giving the Seahawks their first win in 13 games. Thankfully for Hofstra, they found their groove in the final period and outscored their struggling foes 40-17 for a much-needed CAA win. Traveling to James Madison proved tough, however, as the Pride shot a putrid 29 percent and left with a six-point defeat.

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 16 at Drexel; Feb. 19 vs. Delaware

 

 James Madison

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Record on the Week: 1-2 (Overall: 9-117, CAA: 4-8)

Feb. 8 – JMU 60, Drexel 78

 Feb. 10 – Hofstra 53, JMU 59

 Feb. 12 – JMU 65, Delaware 81

 Player of the Week: G Charles Cooke (14 ppg, 6.6 rpg)

As JMU traveled to Philadelphia to face Drexel, they were missing Andre Nation, who was on a one game “leave of absence.” JMU was unable to match Drexel shot-for-shot and were dominated all game despite 35 combined points from Cooke and Ron Curry. The Dukes stepped up their defensive effort against Hofstra at home by holding them to just 29 percent shooting while Curry, Cooke, and Nation combined for 48 for the win. The Dukes then had the misfortune of facing the best team in the CAA in Delaware and were held to just 32 percent shooting in a blowout road loss.

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 15 vs. UNCW; Feb. 19 vs. Drexel

 

 Northeastern

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 Record on the Week: 0-2 (Overall: 8-18 CAA: 5-7)

Feb. 8 – W&M 82, Northeastern 70

Feb. 13 – Northeastern 45, UNCW 55

Player of the Week: F Scott Eatherton (13.5 ppg, 7 rpg)

The Huskies outscored the Tribe 52-37 in the final half at home Saturday. However, they were saddled with a loss as William & Mary outscored them 45-18 in the first half behind five threes. The Huskies’ forgettable week continued as they as shot just 32 percent in a road loss to the lowly UNCW Seahawks.

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 15 at College of Charleston; Feb. 20 vs. Towson

 

 Towson

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 Record on the Week: 1-1 (Overall: 16-9, CAA: 7-3)

 Feb. 8 – CoC 61, Towson 68

 Feb. 10 – Towson 53, UNCW 66

 Player of the Week: F Jerrelle Benimon (18.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg)

The Tigers picked another home win after outscoring College of Charleston 15-8 in overtime after a defensive battle in regulation. However, Towson was stunned as they traveled to North Carolina to face the UNCW Seahawks, who were on a 14-game losing streak. The Tigers shot just 34 percent from the field as UNCW knocked down seven threes in en route to their first win since Dec. 3.

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 15 at William & Mary; Feb. 17 vs. Delaware; Feb. 20 at Northeastern

 

UNC Wilmington

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 Record of the Week: 2-1 (Overall: 8-19, CAA: 2-10)

Feb. 8 – UNCW 52, Hofstra 61

 Feb. 10 – Towson 53, UNCW 66

 Feb. 13 – Northeastern 45, UNCW 55

 Player of the Week: G Freddie Jackson (10.3 ppg)

After a huge second half collapse against Hofstra on the road, UNCW had lost 14 straight with CAA juggernauts Towson visiting. The Seahawks responded by holding the Tigers to just 34 percent shooting and knocking down seven threes for their first victory since early December. The Seahawks were able to stretch their streak to two straight wins following a gritty home win over Northeastern that saw UNCW hold Northeastern to just 32 percent shooting from the floor.

 Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 15 at JMU; Feb. 17 at William & Mary

 

William & Mary

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 Record on the Week: 1-0 (Overall: 15-8, CAA: 7-3)

 Feb. 8 – W&M 82, Northeastern 70

Player of the Week: G Marcus Thornton (25 points and five assists)

The Tribe were in action just once this week and they made the most of it, dominating Northeastern on the road behind 25 points from Thornton and 29 total points from their bench.

Upcoming Schedule: Feb. 15 vs. Towson; Feb. 17 vs. UNCW; Feb. 19 at College of Charleston

 

Philahoops CAA Player of the Week: Towson Tigers F Jerrelle Benimon (18.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg)

 

Philahoops CAA Team of the Week: UNCW Seahawks (2-1)

The Seahawks began the week losers of 14 straight before stunning Towson on the road and suffocating Northeastern at home. While they are very offensively-challenged and don’t always play the prettiest style, it is hard to not root for head coach Buzz Peterson and his Seahawks.

 

Philahoops CAA Power Rankings 

  1. Delaware (19-7, 11-0)
  2. William & Mary (15-8, 7-3)
  3. Towson (16-9, 7-3)
  4. Drexel (13-11, 5-6)
  5. College of Charleston (13-13, 5-6)
  6. Northeastern (8-18, 5-7)
  7. JMU (9-17, 4-8)
  8. Hofstra (8-18, 4-8)
  9. UNCW (8-19, 2-10)

-Aaron Coleman covers Drexel for Philahoops. Reach him at [email protected], @shutupcole on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

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