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Men’s Basketball Notebook – Feb. 10

Feb 10, 2014, 3:24 PM EDT

Delaware's Davon Usher Delaware's Davon Usher

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Davon Usher • Delaware
Sr., G, 6-6, 200 – South Baltimore, Md./Digital Harbor
Usher averaged 33.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 steals in Delaware’s 2-0 week. The senior guard made 5-of-6 from 3-point range and scored a game-high 25 points in the Blue Hens’ 80-67 victory over Northeastern and followed with career-highs of 42 points and seven steals as UD rallied from a 20-point deficit to defeat College of Charleston, 67-64. The 42 points were the most in a game by a UD player since 1964 and the most by a CAA player in a game since 2003. For the week, he shot 68.8% (22-32) from the floor, including 8-of-13 from 3-point range.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
T.J. Williams • Northeastern
Fr., G, 6-3, 190 – Pflugerville, Texas/Pflugerville
Williams averaged 12.0 points and 4.5 assists in his two games for Northeastern last week. He tied a career high with 12 points and had three assists in an 81-73 victory over Hofstra, and followed with 12 points and a career-best six assists in an 82-70 setback to William & Mary. For the week, he shot 50% (8-16) from the floor, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range.

CONFERENCE NOTES:

DELAWARE IMPROVES TO 10-0 IN CAA: Delaware is off to its best CAA start ever at 10-0 after beating Northeastern 80-67 last Monday and rallying from a 20-point deficit in the final nine minutes to edge College of Charleston 67-64 last Wednesday. The Blue Hens are on a 12-game overall winning streak, which is the 3rd-longest in school history and is the 8th-longest active streak in Division I. Delaware has won eight consecutive CAA road games dating back to last season and the Hens are 15-2 in their past 17 conference road outings. UD has also won nine straight at home and is one of only seven Division I teams with a 10-0 mark or better in conference play, joining Syracuse, Wichita State, Florida, San Diego State, Georgia State and Stephen F. Austin.

DELAWARE’S START AMONG BEST IN CAA HISTORY: The 10-0 start by Delaware in CAA play is the third-best in conference history. The 2006-07 VCU team and the 1985-86 Richmond team both started 11-0, while James Madison opened 9-0 in 1990-91 and 1991-92. Three other teams started 8-0 in CAA play – Old Dominion in 2004-05, Richmond in 1988-89 and Northeastern in 2012-13.

HOME COURT STARTING TO BE AN ADVANTAGE: Home teams went 8-2 last week after a recent run of success by visiting squads. Home teams are 26-19 for the year. but 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: More than half (24-of-45) of all CAA games played this season have been decided by seven points or less or in overtime. Northeastern has had two games go to overtime and four others with margins of four points or less. James Madison has had six contests decided by five points or less. UNCW has had six games with margins of seven points or less and a seventh go to overtime.

UD’S USHER SCORES 42 AGAINST COFC: Delaware’s Davon Usher scored a career-high 42 points and made a season-best seven steals as the Blue Hens rallied to defeat the College of Charleston 67-64 last Wednesday. Usher, who tallied 27 points in the final 8:30, finished 14-of-20 from the floor, including 3-of-7 from 3-point range, and made 11-of-14 from the free throw line. The 42 points matches the 7th-highest total in CAA history and was the most by a CAA player since ODU’s Alex Loughton scored 45 vs. Charlotte on December 6, 2003. It was the second-most points ever in a CAA game, trailing only Navy’s David Robinson, who had 45 points vs. JMU  on Jan. 10, 1987. The 42 points are the 6th-most scored in a Division I game this season.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES: Along with the big week put together by Usher, several other players had impressive weeks. W&M guard Marcus Thornton averaged 22.0 ppg, 4.5 apg and 2.5 spg while shooting 60% from the floor in a pair of road victories. Towson forward Jerrelle Benimon averaged 18.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg and 4.0 apg in the Tigers’ 2-0 week. Drexel guard Chris Fouch averaged 21.0 ppg in the Dragons’ 2-0 week.

CAA RANKED 15TH IN LATEST RPI RATINGS: The CAA was ranked 15th among the nation’s 32 Division I conferences according to the latest RPI ratings released by Collegiate Basketball News (rpiratings.com) on Feb. 10. Delaware was the highest ranked CAA team at #65 followed by Drexel at #111, William & Mary at #116 and Towson at #118. A complete listing can be found on Page 2 of the release.

SADDLER, THORNTON IN DOUBLE FIGURES: Delaware senior guard Devon Saddler has scored double figures in 56 of his last 57 games, while William & Mary junior guard Marcus Thornton has reached double digits in 53 of his last 54 contests. Saddler had his 38-game streak snapped in the semifinals of the 2013 CAA Championship, but has scored double figures in all 18 of his games this year, including 11 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 10 of his 11 contests.

EATHERTON, BENIMON LEAD NATION IN DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Northeastern’s Scott Eatherton and Towson’s Jerrelle Benimon are tied for the national lead in double-doubles with 15 according to the latest NCAA statistics released on Feb. 10. Eatherton was also 15th in rebounding (10.0 rpg) and 37th in FG percentage (55.7%) while Benimon was 5th in rebounding (11.3 rpg). In other categories, W&M’s Marcus Thornton was 28th in scoring (20.0 ppg), 17th in 3-pointers per game (3.17) and 31st in 3-pt FG percentage (42.2%). Delaware junior Kyle Anderson was 46th in 3-pointers per game (2.7) and 44th in 3-point FG% (41%). CofC’s Willis Hall was 29th in rebounding (9.2 rpg) and 45th in double-doubles (8). Drexel’s Frantz Massenat was 16th in assist/turnover ratio and 47th in assists (5.2 apg).

DREXEL LEADS NATION IN FEWEST TURNOVERS: Drexel is averaging only 8.3 turnovers per game this season, which leads all Division I teams. The Dragons have committed nine or fewer turnovers in 13 of their last 16 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 11 of its last 14 games and is averaging just 8.2 tpg over that stretch. The Blue Hens rank 14th nationally with 10.1 tpg.

SADDLER BECOMES UD’S ALL-TIME LEADING SCORER: Delaware guard Devon Saddler became the Blue Hens’ all-time leading scorer last Monday, breaking the mark held by Mike Pegues (2,030). With 2,048 points, he has also moved up to 10th on the CAA’s all-time scoring chart. Saddler, who missed seven games earlier this season due to a team suspension, is averaging 21.0 ppg and ranks third in career points among all active players in Division I, trailing only Creighton’s Doug McDermott and Oakland’s Travis Bader.

DREXEL DUO CLIMBING CAREER LISTS: Drexel guard Chris Fouch has moved into 5th place on the Dragons’ all-time scoring list with 1,623 points. He has also made 262 career 3-pointers and needs seven more to tie VCU’s B.A. Walker for 10th place on the CAA’s career treys chart. Backcourt mate Frantz Massenat ranks third in career assists at Drexel with 526 and needs just one more to tie VCU’s LaMar Taylor for 10th place on the CAA’s all-time assists chart.

College of Charleston

•    Suffered narrow road losses at first-place Delaware (67-64) and second-place Towson (68-61/ot) last week.

•    Canyon Barry scored a team-high 14 points at Towson, which was his best game since suffering a finger injury on Jan. 1.

•    Willis Hall had 13 points and 8 rebounds at Towson. He’s recorded a team-high eight double-doubles this season.

•    Adjehi Baru posted his 6th double-double at Delaware with 11 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.

•    CofC shot 57.5% from the floor at UD and outrebounded the Hens 38-17, but was hurt by a season-high 26 turnovers.

•    Center David Wishon scored a career-high 10 points off the bench at Delaware and grabbed six rebounds at Towson.

•    CofC had a season-low five turnovers at Towson and also outrebounded the Tigers 43-34, including 21 offensive boards.

Delaware

•    Off to the 3rd-best start in CAA history at 10-0 after beating NU (80-67) and CofC (67-64) last week. On a 12-game overall win streak, which is the 3rd-longest ever at UD.

•    Davon Usher hit 5-of-6 threes and scored a team-best 25 points vs. NU and followed with a career-high 42 points (30 in the 2nd half) and 7 steals vs. CofC. He’s scored double figures in 14 straight contests and is averaging 21.5 ppg against CAA foes.

•    Devon Saddler had 21 points and 8 assists vs. NU and 17 points vs. CofC to become UD’s all-time leading scorer with 2,048 pts. He has scored 20+ points in 8 of the last 11 games and is averaging 21.5 ppg in CAA play.

•    Carl Baptiste recorded his 4th double-double with 14 points and a career-high 15 rebounds vs. NU. He’s shooting a league-best 62% from the floor in CAA play.

•    Starters Jarvis Threatt and Marvin King-Davis have been issued 1-month suspensions for violations of UD athletic department policy.

•    Kyle Anderson added 15 points vs. NU. He tops UD with 68 three-pointers.

Drexel

•    Have won three of their last four after home victories over UNCW (61-50 and JMU (78-60) last week.

•    Chris Fouch scored a team-high 26 points vs. JMU and had 16 points vs. UNCW.  He’s averaging 21.1 ppg in CAA play and has reached double digits in 13 straight games. Fouch is 4th in career treys (262) and 5th in career points (1,623) at Drexel.

•    Frantz Massenat has scored double figures in 10 straight games after tallying 15 points vs. UNCW and 16 against JMU. He’s averaging 21.7 ppg and 6.1 apg in CAA play. He ranks 3rd in career assists (526) and 9th in career points (1,529) at Drexel.

•    Freshman Rodney Williams posted his first career double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks vs. JMU.

•    Kazembe Abif is out for the season after fracturing his hand in practice last week.

•    Drexel leads the nation with 8.3 turnovers per game. The Dragons are averaging only 6.9 tpg in CAA action.

Hofstra

•    Fell 81-73 at Northeastern but snapped a 5-game losing streak after rallying past UNCW 61-52 on Saturday.

•    Zeke Upshaw scored 16 points in both games, extending his double-figure scoring streak to 15 games. Upshaw has topped the 20-point mark 12 times this season and is averaging 19.4 ppg in conference play.

•    Dion Nesmith averaged 16.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 4.0 apg last week. He’s scored double digits in eight straight games and is averaging 13.6 ppg and 4.3 apg in CAA play.

•    Stephen Nwaukoni pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds at NU. He’s averaging 9.6 rpg in CAA play and ranks 13th on the Pride’s all-time rebounding list with 676.

•    Freshman Jamall Robinson added 13 points at NU and is averaging 10.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg over his last four contests.

•    Hofstra limited UNCW to 17 second-half points, which was the fewest allowed by the Pride in a 2nd half since 2008.

James Madison

•    Suffered road losses at Towson (80-71) and Drexel (78-60) last week.

•    Andre Nation scored a team-high 20 points at Towson, but missed the DU game after taking a leave for personal reasons. He’s averaging 17.0 ppg and 5.5 rpg in CAA play.

•    Charles Cooke averaged 14.0 ppg and 6.5 rpg for the week, including a team-high 18 points at Drexel.  He ranks 9th in the CAA in scoring, 19th in rebounding and third in steals for the season.

•    Ron Curry scored 17 points at Drexel and 13 at Towson. He has tallied double figures in six of his last eight games and ranks among the CAA’s top 10 in assists and steals.

•    Andrey Semenov added 12 points at DU and moved into the top 20 on JMU’s all-time scoring list with 1,129 points.

•    JMU committed a season-low six turnovers at Towson and is averaging just 8.3 tpg over its past three contests.

UNCW

•    Fell to Drexel (61-50), W&M (54-50) and Hofstra (61-52) last week. Seven of 10 CAA losses have been by 7 points or less or in OT.

•    Cedrick Williams posted his 2nd double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds vs. W&M. He has 13 double-figure scoring efforts in the last 16 games and is among the CAA’s top 10 in scoring (13.4 ppg), rebounding (7.0 rpg), blocks (1.6 bpg) and FG% (51.5%).

•    Tanner Milson made three treys and scored a team-high 11 points off the bench vs. W&M. It was his top scoring performance since scoring 12 vs. UNCA on Dec. 28.

•    Freddie Jackson tied a season high with 15 points off the bench at Hofstra.

•    Addison Spruill scored a team-high 22 points with five rebounds at Drexel.

•    Shane Reybold is averaging 7.0 ppg and 4.5 rpg in his first four games back after missing a month due to injury.

Northeastern

•    Went 1-2 last week, beating Hofstra (81-73) but losing to Delaware (80-67) and W&M (82-70).

•    Scott Eatherton, who leads the nation with 15 double-doubles, tallied team-highs of 21 points and 8 rebounds at UD and had 11 points and 11 boards vs. Hofstra. He’s 1st in the CAA in blocks, ranks 2nd in rebounds, 3rd in FG% and 8th in scoring.

•    David Walker scored a team-high 15 points vs. HU and added 12 points at UD. He’s scored double figures in seven of his last nine games.

•    Demetrius Pollard scored a team-high 13 points vs. W&M and is averaging 13.6 ppg over his last five contests.

•    NU shot a season-high 55% and had six players score double digits vs. Hofstra and scored a season-high 52 points in the 2nd half vs. W&M.

•    Reggie Spencer had 15 points and 8 rebounds vs. Hofstra, which was his best game since returning from an injury.

Towson

•    Improved to 13-1 at home and increased their winning streak to four after beating JMU (80-71) and CofC (68-61/ot) last week.

•    Jerrelle Benimon posted his NCAA-best 15th double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds vs. JMU and scored a game-high 20 points vs. CofC, including 7 in OT. He’s among the CAA’s top five in scoring, rebounding, FG%, assists and blocks.

•    Rafriel Guthrie averaged 14.5 ppg last week, including 17 points vs. JMU. He’s scored double figures in seven straight games and is averaging 14.1 ppg over that stretch.

•    Mike Burwell averaged 14.0 ppg on 9-of-18 FG shooting last week. He’s scored 14 or more points in 4 of his past 7 contests.

•    Towson’s 16-8 record is its best after 24 games since the 1993-94 season.

•    Towson was 13-of-28 from three last week and is 21-of-43 (48.8%) from beyond the arc in the past four games.

William & Mary

•    Earned victories at UNCW (54-50) and NU (82-70) last week. Have won four straight road games and their eight road wins are tied for the 3rd-most ever at W&M.

•    Marcus Thornton averaged 22.0 ppg, 4.5 apg and 2.5 spg last week while shooting 60% from the floor. He’s been W&M’s top scorer in 8 straight games and has tallied double digits in 54 of his last 55 games.

•     Tim Rusthoven averaged 11.5 ppg on 11-of-16 FG shooting (68.8%) last week. He has seven double-figure scoring efforts in the past nine games.

•    Brandon Britt is averaging 11.0 ppg over his last five games.

•    Omar Prewitt averaged 11.0 ppg last week. He leads all CAA freshmen in scoring (11.4 ppg) and is 2nd in rebounding (4.6 rpg).

•     W&M is shooting 48.6% from the floor and 42.7% from three in CAA play. The Tribe is averaging a league-best 9.1 treys made per game against conference foes.

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