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Men’s Basketball Notebook – Jan. 27

Jan 27, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

Northeastern's Scott Eatherton Northeastern's Scott Eatherton

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Scott Eatherton • Northeastern
Jr., F, 6-8, 219 – Hershey, Pa./Hershey
Eatherton averaged 18.5 points and 8.0 rebounds to lead Northeastern to a pair of CAA road victories last week. The junior forward tallied team-highs of 19 points and nine rebounds as the Huskies defeated Towson 57-54 to snap the Tigers’ 13-game home court win streak. He followed with 18 points on 8-of-10 FG shooting and seven boards in a 70-57 triumph at Hofstra, which ended the Pride’s three-game CAA win streak. Eatherton shot 58.3% from the floor for the week and also blocked three shots.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Devon Saddler • Delaware
Sr., G, 6-2, 210 – Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen
Saddler averaged 23.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in Delaware’s 2-0 week. The senior guard contributed a game-high 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as the Hens won 90-77 at rival Drexel and followed with a team-best 23 points in an 83-76 triumph over Towson. Saddler, who has tied a school record by surpassing the 20-point mark in seven straight games, shot 50% from the floor for the week.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Jackson Kent • James Madison
Fr., G, 6-7, 185 – High Point, N.C./High Point Christian
Kent poured in a career-high 17 points to lead James Madison to a 58-56 victory over College of Charleston last Saturday. The freshman guard made 6-of-12 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range, and also grabbed five rebounds. Kent scored 10 straight points during a second-half rally that gave the Dukes a 52-48 advantage with 7:22 remaining.

CONFERENCE NOTES:

DELAWARE SITS ATOP CAA STANDINGS: Delaware is the only remaining unbeaten team in CAA play after the first three weeks of conference action. The Blue Hens are off to a 6-0 start for the first time as a CAA member and just the third time in school history. UD, which has rallied from halftime deficits in four of its six league contests, has won seven consecutive CAA road games dating back to last season and the Hens are 14-2 in their past 16 conference road outings. Delaware’s current eight-game overall winning streak is tied for the 8th-longest in school history. Behind the Hens, there are five teams separated by only a half-game in the league standings – Hofstra, Towson and William & Mary at 3-2, Northeastern at 4-3 and College of Charleston at 3-3.

ROAD TEAMS HAVING SUCCESS: Road teams have gone 11-6 in CAA play over the past two weeks after home teams won seven of the first nine conference games. Home teams are just 13-13 for the year and five squads are at least .500 on the road in CAA games. Each team will play a 16-game conference schedule  with home and away games against all eight league foes.

CLOSE GAMES IN CONFERENCE PLAY: Sixteen of the 26 CAA games (61.5%) played this season have been decided by seven points or less or in overtime. Two games last week featured game-winning 3-pointers at the buzzer as Northeastern’s David Walker hit one to beat Towson last Wednesday and William & Mary’s Marcus Thornton drained one to top Drexel on Saturday. Northeastern has had two games go to overtime and three others with margins of four points or less. James Madison has had four contests decided by five points or less and Delaware has had three. College of Charleston and Hofstra have had three CAA games decided by seven points or less and UNCW has had four contests with margins of seven points or less and a fifth go to overtime.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES: Along with the efforts put forth by weekly honorees Scott Eatherton and Devon Saddler, several other CAA players turned in tremendous performances last week. W&M guard Marcus Thornton averaged 21.5 ppg and 4.0 apg in the Tribe’s two road games, including 26 points in a win at Drexel. Towson’s Jerrelle Benimon posted his 13th double-double with 29 points and 16 rebounds at Delaware. Drexel guard Chris Fouch tied a career-high with 31 points against William & Mary. Hofstra guard Dion Nesmith averaged 16.5 ppg and 6.0 apg in the Pride’s 1-1 week. UNCW’s Cedrick Williams (22 pts) and Chris Dixon (21 pts) each topped the 20-point mark in a setback at CofC, while the Cougars’ Willis Hall had 22 points and eight boards in a setback at JMU. Northeastern’s Demetrius Pollard poured in 25 points in a victory at Hofstra.

CAA RANKED 16TH IN LATEST RPI RATINGS: The CAA was ranked 16th among the nation’s 32 Division I conferences according to the latest RPI ratings released by Collegiate Basketball News (rpiratings.com) on Jan. 27. Delaware was the highest ranked CAA team at #68 followed by Drexel at #128. A complete listing can be found on Page 2 of the release.

TOWSON’S HOME WIN STREAK ENDS: Towson had its 13-game home court winning streak, which was the 12th-longest in the nation, come to an end in a 57-54 setback to Northeastern last Wednesday. The Tigers’ home court streak was their longest since winning 22 in a row from 1992-95.

SADDLER, THORNTON IN DOUBLE FIGURES: Delaware senior guard Devon Saddler has scored double figures in 52 of his last 53 games, while William & Mary junior guard Marcus Thornton has reached double digits in 49 of his last 50 contests. Saddler had his 38-game streak snapped in the semifinals of the 2013 CAA Championship, but has scored double figures in all 14 of his games this year and is riding a school-record streak of seven striaght games with 20+ points. Thornton saw his streak of scoring double figures end at 42 games after being held to nine points in a loss at West Virginia on Dec. 29. Since that time, he’s scored 17 or more points in six of his seven contests.

EATHERTON, BENIMON AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS IN DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Northeastern’s Scott Eatherton leads the nation in double-doubles with 14 and Towson’s Jerrelle Benimon is 2nd with 13 according to the latest NCAA statistics released on Jan. 27. Eatherton was also 15th in rebounding (10.1 rpg) and 33rd in FG percentage (56.3%) while Benimon was 5th in rebounding (11.6 rpg). In other categories, Delaware junior Jarvis Threatt ranked 42nd in Division I in assists (5.4 apg) and 22nd in steals (2.3 spg), while Blue Hens’ junior Kyle Anderson was 30th in 3-pointers per game (2.9) and 32nd in 3-point FG% (43%). W&M’s Marcus Thornton was 42nd in scoring (19.1 ppg) and 21st in 3-pointers per game (3.06). CofC’s Willis Hall was 32nd in rebounding (9.4 rpg) and 44th in double-doubles (7), and Drexel’s Frantz Massenat was 38th in assist/turnover ratio and 53rd in assists (5.1 apg).

SADDLER CLIMBS SCORING LISTS: Delaware guard Devon Saddler has scored 1,976 career points and needs 55 more to break the Hens’ school record held by Mike Pegues. He’s also moved up to 12th on the CAA’s all-time scoring chart and needs 12 more to pass ODU’s Petey Sessoms for 11th. Saddler, who missed seven games earlier this season due to a team suspension, is averaging 21.9 ppg and ranks fourth in career points among all active players in Division I.

TRANSFERS MAKE AN IMPACT: Several transfers continue to make a big impact in the CAA. Hofstra’s Zeke Upshaw (Illinois State) is 3rd the CAA in scoring with 18.8 ppg, while the Pride’s Dion Nesmith (Monmouth) is 12th (12.9 ppg) in scoring and 3rd in assists (4.1 apg). Delaware’s Davon Usher (Mississippi Valley State) ranks sixth in the CAA in scoring (17.3 ppg) and 11th in rebounding (5.9 rpg). Northeastern’s Scott Eatherton (St. Francis Pa.) is among the league’s top 10 in scoring (16.9 ppg/8th), rebounding (10.1 rpg/2nd) and FG percentage (56.3%/3rd). Towson’s Four McGlynn (Vermont) ranks seventh in the CAA in 3-point FG percentage (38%) and sixth in 3’s per game (2.1). UNCW’s Ben Eblen (Alabama) is fifth in the CAA in assists (3.1 apg) and second in assist/TO ratio.

TAKING CARE OF THE BALL: Drexel is averaging only 8.6 turnovers per game this season, which ranks third in Division I. The Dragons have committed nine or fewer turnovers in 10 of their last 12 games and haven’t turned the ball over more than 14 times in any game. Drexel had only five turnovers in a narrow loss to #1 Arizona on Nov. 27 and three at William & Mary on Jan. 8. Delaware has recorded single-digit turnovers in eight of its last 10 games and is averaging just 8.2 tpg over that stretch. The Blue Hens rank 32nd nationally with 10.5 tpg.

OFFENSE VS. DEFENSE: Delaware and College of Charleston both have winning records, but have done it in different ways. The Blue Hens rank 23rd nationally in scoring offense with 81.1 ppg and have tallied 80 or more points 12 times. The Cougars are 29th in Division I in scoring defense at 62.7 ppg and have held nine foes under 60 points.

College of Charleston

•    Went 1-1 last week, beating UNCW 75-70 before falling 58-56 at JMU.

•    Willis Hall had team-highs of 22 points and 8 rebounds at JMU and is averaging 17.0 ppg and 10.0 rpg over his last four games. He’s posted five double-doubles in the past nine contests.

•    Nori Johnson hit 7-of-8 threes and scored a team-high 23 points vs. UNCW. He’s shooting 51.2% (21-41) from 3 in CAA play.

•    Adjehi Baru recorded his fifth double-double of the season at JMU with 13 points and a team-high 13 rebounds. He also blocked three shots against the Dukes.

•    Guard Anthony Stitt is averaging 11.8 ppg over his past six games.

•    CofC has an impressive 15-5 record in road games over the past two seasons under coach Doug Wojcik, including 4-3 this year.

•    CofC made 10-of-19 from 3-point range vs. UNCW and has shot better than 50% from beyond the arc in three of six CAA games.

Delaware

•    Off to their best start ever in CAA play at 6-0 after beating Drexel (90-77) and Towson (83-76) last week. On an 8-game overall win streak, which is the 8th-best ever at UD.

•    Devon Saddler scored 23 points in each game and also averaged 5.0 rpg. Saddler, who is 2nd on UD’s career scoring list (1,976 pts), has seven straight 20+ point efforts and is averaging 23.8 ppg over his last 6 games.

•    Marvin King-Davis averaged 12.5 ppg last week on 10-of-16 FG shooting (62.5%).

•    Davon Usher added 17 points vs. Towson and has scored double figures in 10 straight contests. Usher is averaging 17.8 ppg over his last six games.

•    Jarvis Threatt averaged 19.0 ppg, 6.0 apg and 3.0 spg last week. He’s scored double digits in 17 of his last 18 games and tops the CAA in assists and steals.

•    Delaware shot a season-best 56.5% from the floor at Drexel and had five players score in double figures.

Drexel

•    Dropped home games to Delaware (90-77) and William & Mary (68-66) last week.

•    Chris Fouch tied a career-high with 31 points vs. W&M and added 18 points vs. UD. He’s averaging 23.3 ppg over his last six games. He’s 4th in career treys (249) and 7th in career points (1,552) at DU.

•    Frantz Massenat posted his 2nd double-double (team-high 20 pts/10 ast) vs. UD and added 19 points vs. W&M. He’s averaging 22.7 ppg and 6.3 apg over his last six games. He ranks 3rd in career assists (503) and 12th in career points (1,448) at DU.

•    Tavon Allen, who had missed 2 games with an ankle injury, hit 5-of-7 threes and scored 19 points off the bench vs. UD. However he was limited to just 2 minutes vs. W&M.

•    Freshman Rodney Williams had six points, eight rebounds and two blocks vs. W&M.

•    Drexel committed just 11 total turnovers in the two games last week and ranks 3rd nationally with only 8.6 tpg.

Hofstra

•    Split a pair of home games last week, beating W&M 77-60 but losing 70-57 to Northeastern. Have won 3 of their last 4.

•    Zeke Upshaw scored a team-high 21 points vs. W&M and added 12 vs. NU. Upshaw has topped the 20-point mark 10 times this season and is averaging 20.5 ppg over his last eight contests.

•    Stephen Nwaukoni posted his 4th double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds vs. W&M. He’s averaging 10.7 rpg over his past six games and ranks 18th on the Pride’s all-time rebounding list with 636.

•    Dion Nesmith recorded his first double-double with 15 points and a career-high 10 assists against W&M and scored a team-best 18 points vs. NU. He’s scored double digits in five of his last six games.

•    Hofstra made 10 threes vs. SMU and W&M, which was the first time since 2005 it has hit double-digit treys in back-to-back games.

James Madison

•    Snapped a four-game losing streak with a 58-56 victory over CofC on Saturday.

•    Freshman Jackson Kent scored a career-high 17 points off the bench vs. CofC, including 10 straight during a second-half run that gave JMU a 52-48 lead with 7:22 to play.

•    Andre Nation contributed 15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks vs. CofC. He’s averaging 19.5 ppg and 5.3 rpg over his last four contests.

•    Charles Cooke missed the CofC game due to an ankle injury.  He’s tallied 20 or more points in six of his last 12 contests and leads the team with 15.1 ppg.

•    Ron Curry had 12 points vs. CofC., which was his third double-digit effort in the last four games. He also ranks among the CAA’s top 10 in assists and steals.

•    The Dukes shot a season-best 50% (6-12) from 3-point range against CofC, with Kent hitting 3-of-6 and Andrey Semenov going 2-for-2.

UNCW

•    Fell 75-70 at CofC last Wednesday, which was their school-record 10th straight loss. Five of their six CAA losses have been by 7 points or less or in OT.

•    Chris Dixon hit 3-of-4 threes and scored a season-high 21 points at CofC. He’s tallied double figures in five straight games and is averaging 16.2 ppg over that stretch.

•    Cedrick Williams had team-highs of 22 points and 7 rebounds at CofC. He has 11 double-figure scoring efforts in the last 12 games, and is among the CAA’s top 10 in scoring (14.2 ppg), rebounding (7.1 rpg), blocked shots (1.8 bpg) and FG% (54%).

•    Williams and Dixon gave UNCW two 20-point scorers in the same game for the first time since Nov. 18.

•    Ben Eblen had 9 points and 3 assists at CofC while playing near his hometown. It was his top scoring effort since Nov. 26.

•    UNCW made 6-of-12 threes at CofC, which was its best 3-point percentage of the year.

Northeastern

•    Posted back-to-back road victories at Towson (57-54) and Hofstra (70-57) last week. Improved to 3-1 on the road in CAA play this season and 11-2 over the past two years.

•    Scott Eatherton, who leads the nation with 14 double-doubles, averaged 18.5 ppg and 8.0 rpg last week while shooting 58.3%. He tops the CAA in blocks, ranks 2nd in rebounds, 3rd in FG% and 8th in scoring.

•    Demetrius Pollard hit 6-of-8 threes and scored a team-high 25 points at Hofstra. He also had a career-high six assists in the win.

•    David Walker nailed a game-winning 30-footer at the buzzer at Towson. He’s among the top 10 in the CAA in assists and steals and ranks 19th in scoring.

•    Zach Stahl averaged 9.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg last week and is averaging 10.3 ppg and 9.3 rpg over his past three contests.

•    Reggie Spencer, who has 12 straight games with at least five rebounds, missed the first two games of his NU career last week.

Towson

•    Lost 57-54 to Northeastern and 83-76 at Delaware last week, ending their 13-game home court and five-game overall winning streaks.

•    Jerrelle Benimon tallied team-highs of 29 points and 16 rebounds at UD, which was his 10th double-double in the last 11 games and his 10th 20+-point effort of the year. He’s among the CAA’s top five in scoring, rebounding, FG%, assists and blocks.

•    Marcus Damas hit five 3’s and scored a team-high 21 points vs. NU and chipped in 12 points at UD. He’s averaging 15.8 ppg over his last four games.

•    Towson scored 51 second-half points at UD, which was its most in a half this season against a Div. I foe.

•    Rafriel Guthrie scored 13 points vs. NU and 11 against UD.  He’s averaging 12.7 ppg over the past three games.

•    Towson is limiting opponents to 36.7% FG shooting in CAA games.

William & Mary

•    Split a pair of road games last week, losing 77-60 at Hofstra before picking up a 68-66 victory at Drexel.

•    Marcus Thornton hit 6-of-7 threes and scored a team-high 26 points at Drexel, including a game-winning trey at the buzzer. He averaged 21.5 ppg for the week and has  scored double figures in 49 of his last 50 games.

•     Tim Rusthoven averaged 14.0 ppg and 6.5 rpg last week. He’s averaging 14.5 ppg and 6.8 rpg over his last 4 games.

•    Omar Prewitt added 10 points and 9 rebounds at Drexel. He leads all CAA freshmen in scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounds (5.1 rpg).

•    Julian Boatner hit 3-of-7 treys and added 9 points at Hofstra. 34 of his 39 FG’s this season are 3-pointers.

•    The Tribe bench outscored Drexel 22-2, which was the 7th straight game W&M’s reserves accomplished that feat.

•     W&M has made 10+ treys in 8 of their past 13 games and is shooting over 42.2% from 3 during CAA play.

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