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Men’s Basketball Notebook – Feb. 17

Feb 17, 2014, 3:23 PM EDT

Drexel's Rodney Williams Drexel's Rodney Williams

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Davon Usher • Delaware
Sr., G, 6-6, 200 – South Baltimore, Md./Digital Harbor
Usher repeats as Player of the Week after scoring a game-high 34 points and grabbing eight rebounds as Delaware ran its winning streak to 13 with an 81-65 victory over James Madison last Wednesday. The senior guard made 9-of-17 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, and hit 12-of-13 at the free throw line. Usher’s 76 points in consecutive games set a Delaware school record and he’s averaging 33.7 ppg over his past three contests.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Yohanny Dalembert • James Madison
Fr., F, 6-8, 225 – Port-au-Prince, Haiti/Lower Merion (Pa.)
Dalembert averaged 7.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in James Madison’s 2-1 week. The freshman forward entered the week averaging just 1.5 ppg and 2.1 rpg, but broke loose for career-highs of 15 points and 13 rebounds at first-place Delaware. He followed by scoring seven points in his first career start against UNCW.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Rodney Williams • Drexel
Fr., F, 6-7, 220 – Richmond, Va./St. Christopher’s
Williams averaged 9.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks as Drexel split a pair of games last week. The freshman forward contributed 11 points and seven rebounds in a victory over Hofstra and had eight points and five boards in a one-point loss at College of Charleston. He shot 54.5% from the floor.

CONFERENCE NOTES:

DELAWARE IMPROVES TO 11-0 IN CAA: Delaware matched the best start in CAA history at 11-0 after defeating James Madison 81-65 last Wednesday. The Blue Hens are on a 13-game overall winning streak, which is the 2nd-longest in school history and is the 6th-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 10 straight at home and is one of only six Division I teams with undefeated records in conference play, joining Syracuse (12-0), Wichita State (14-0), Florida (12-0), Stephen F. Austin (13-0) and Saint Louis (10-0).

DELAWARE’S START BEST IN CAA HISTORY: The 11-0 start by Delaware ties the CAA record for the best start ever. The 2006-07 VCU team and the 1985-86 Richmond team also opened 11-0. James Madison had  9-0 starts in 1990-91 and 1991-92 and three teams  have gone 8-0 – Old Dominion in 2004-05, Richmond in 1988-89 and Northeastern in 2012-13. The Blue Hens visit second-place Towson tonight in a nationally televised game on NBCSN and can clinch at least a share of the CAA regular-season title with a victory.

HOME COURT STARTING TO BE AN ADVANTAGE: Home teams have gone 15-4 in CAA play over the past two weeks after a run of success by visiting squads. Home teams are 33-21 for the year but four teams are above .500 on the road in league play. Each team will play a 16-game conference schedule  with home and away games against all eight league foes.

CLOSE GAMES IN CONFERENCE PLAY: Half (27-of-54) 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 eight contests decided by six points or less. UNCW has had seven games with margins of seven points or less and an eighth go to overtime. Drexel’s last three CAA losses have been by a total of five points.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES: Along with the big week put together by Usher, several other players had impressive weeks. Drexel guard Frantz Massenat averaged 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals in a pair of games. Northeastern forward Scott Eatherton averaged 16.0 points and 13.0 rebounds while shooting 66.7% from the floor as the Huskies split a pair of road contests. Towson forward Jerrelle Benimon averaged 19.0 points, 15.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists as the Tigers went 1-1 on the road.

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. 17. Delaware was the highest ranked CAA team at #65 followed by Towson at #119, William & Mary at #123 and Drexel at #125. 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 58 games, while William & Mary junior guard Marcus Thornton has reached double digits in 53 of his last 55 contests. Saddler had a 38-game streak snapped in the semifinals of the 2013 CAA Championship and then scored double figures in his first 18 games this year before being held to 9 points vs. JMU on Feb. 12. 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 12 contests.

BENIMON, EATHERTON LEAD NATION IN DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Towson’s Jerrelle Benimon and Northeastern’s Scott Eatherton are tied for the national lead in double-doubles with 17 according to the latest NCAA statistics released on Feb. 17. Beninon also tops the nation in rebounding (11.6 rpg), while Eatherton was 13th in rebounding (10.3 rpg) and 27th in FG percentage (56.6%). In other categories, W&M’s Marcus Thornton was 45th in scoring (19.4 ppg), 20th in 3-pointers per game (3.08) and 43rd in 3-pt FG percentage (40.9%). Delaware junior Kyle Anderson was 59th in 3-pointers per game (2.6) and 46th in 3-point FG% (40.2%). CofC’s Willis Hall was 28th in rebounding (9.3 rpg) and 51st in double-doubles (8). Drexel’s Frantz Massenat was 20th in assist/turnover ratio and 54th in assists (5.1 apg). Delaware’s Davon Usher ranked 42nd in scoring (19.4 ppg).

DREXEL LEADS NATION IN FEWEST TURNOVERS: Drexel is averaging only 8.2 turnovers per game this season, which leads all Division I teams. The Dragons have committed nine or fewer turnovers in 14 of their last 18 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 15 games. The Blue Hens rank 14th nationally with 10.2 tpg.

SADDLER BECOMES UD’S ALL-TIME LEADING SCORER: Delaware guard Devon Saddler became the Blue Hens’ all-time leading scorer on Feb. 3, breaking the mark held by Mike Pegues (2,030). With 2,057 points, he has moved up to 10th on the CAA’s all-time scoring chart. Saddler, who missed seven games due to a team suspension, is averaging 20.4 ppg and ranks 4th in career points among all active players in Division I, trailing Creighton’s Doug McDermott, Oakland’s Travis Bader and Loyola Marymount’s Anthony Ireland.

DREXEL DUO CLIMBING CAREER LISTS: Drexel guard Chris Fouch has moved into 5th place on the Dragons’ all-time scoring list with 1,645 points. He has also made 264 career 3-pointers and needs five 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 534 and has moved up to 9th place on the CAA’s all-time assists chart. He’s also eighth on Drexel’s career scoring list with 1,569 points.

College of Charleston

•    Split a pair of home games, edging Drexel 47-46 but losing to Northeastern, 60-44.

•    Canyon Barry scored 10 points off the bench vs. Drexel and NU. He’s averaging 11.3 ppg over his last three games.

•    Willis Hall narrowly missed his 9th double-double with 9 points and 11 rebounds vs. Drexel. Hall’s baseline jumper with 3.8 seconds left was the game-winner vs. DU.

•    Adjehi Baru tallied 6 points and a team-high 13 rebounds vs. Drexel. He’s had 10+ rebounds in four of the last six games.

•    CofC’s defense limited Drexel to a season-low 46 points. The Cougars lead the CAA in scoring defense (62.2 ppg).

•    Freshman Joe Chealey scored a team-high 11 points against NU and averaged 9.5 ppg for the week.

•    CofC out-rebounded Drexel 46-38. The Cougars lead the CAA in rebound margin (+5.8 rpg) in conference play.

Delaware

•    Tied the best start in CAA history at 11-0 after beating JMU 81-65 last Wednesday. On a 13-game overall win streak, which is the 2nd-longest ever at UD.

•    Davon Usher scored a team-high 34 points and had 8 rebounds vs. JMU. He’s scored double figures in 15 straight contests and is averaging 22.6 ppg against CAA foes. Usher is averaging 33.7 ppg over his last 3 games.

•    Devon Saddler had 9 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds vs. JMU, ending his 18-game double-figure scoring streak. UD’s all-time leading scorer with 2,057 pts., Saddler has scored 20+ points in 8 of the last 12 games and is averaging 20.4 ppg in CAA play.

•    Carl Baptiste recorded his 5th double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds vs. JMU. He’s shooting a league-best 64.2% from the floor in CAA play.

•    UD scored 51 first-half points vs. JMU, which was its most in a 1st half since 2001.

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

Drexel

•    Went 1-1 last week, losing 47-46 at CofC before beating Hofstra 74-63.

•    Frantz Massenat hit 5-of-7 threes and scored a team-high 24 points vs. HU and also had a team-best 16 points at CofC. He’s averaging 21.4 ppg and 5.8 apg in CAA play and has scored double figures in 12 straight games. He ranks 3rd in career assists (534) and 8th in career points (1,569) at Drexel.

•    Chris Fouch added 16 points vs. Hofstra and has scored double digits in 14 of his last 15 games.  He’s averaging 19.4 ppg in CAA play. Fouch is 4th in career treys (264) and 5th in career points (1,645) at Drexel.

•    Tavon Allen recorded his first double-double of the season with 12 points and a team-high 10 rebounds at CofC.

•    Freshman Rodney Williams averaged 9.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg last week, including 11 points and 7 boards in the Hofstra win.

•    Drexel leads the nation with 8.2 turnovers per game. The Dragons are averaging only 7.0 tpg in CAA action.

Hofstra

•    Dropped road games at JMU (59-53) and Drexel (74-63) last week.

•    Zeke Upshaw scored a team-high 20 points at Drexel and a team-best 15 points at JMU, extending his double-figure scoring streak to 17 games. Upshaw has topped the 20-point mark 13 times this season and is averaging 19.1 ppg in conference play.

•    Dion Nesmith had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists at JMU, but had his 9-game double-figure scoring streak snapped at DU (6 pts/6 ast). He’s averaging 12.7 ppg and 4.5 apg in CAA play.

•    Stephen Nwaukoni grabbed a team-high 9 rebounds at Drexel and is averaging 9.0 rpg in CAA play. He ranks 13th on the Pride’s all-time rebounding list with 688.

•    Freshman Jamall Robinson added 10 points and 6 rebounds at JMU and freshman Chris Jenkins chipped in 8 points at Drexel.

•    Hofstra shot a season-best 82.4% (14-of-17) from the free throw line at JMU.

James Madison

•    Won home games over Hofstra (59-53) and UNCW (64-62), but lost at Delaware (81-65) last week.

•    Andre Nation averaged 13.3 ppg last week, including a team-high 17 points at UD. He’s scored double digits in 10 straight games and is averaging 16.0 ppg in CAA play. He tied a JMU record with 7 steals vs. UNCW.

•    Freshman Yohanny Dalembert had career-highs of 15 points and 13 rebounds at UD and had 7 points in his 1st start vs. UNCW.

•    Ron Curry scored a team-high 20 points with six assists vs. HU and averaged 13.7 ppg and 4.3 apg for the week. He has tallied double figures in 8 of his last 11 games.

•    Charles Cooke had 15 points, a team-high 8 rebounds and 3 steals against Hofstra and averaged 11.3 ppg and 6.3 rpg last week.

•    Andrey Semenov scored a team-high 18 points vs. UNCW and became JMU’s all-time leader in games played. He’s the only JMU player to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 100 assists and 100 blocks in a career.

UNCW

•    Won back-to-back games over Towson (66-53) and Northeastern (55-45) before falling 64-62 at JMU. Eight of UNCW’s 11 CAA losses have been by 7 points or less or in OT.

•    Dylan Sherwood hit 4-of-7 threes and scored a career-high 14 points in 16 minutes vs. Towson and made 2-of-3 treys and netted 10 points vs. Northeastern.

•    Cedrick Williams is among the CAA’s top 11 in scoring (12.6 ppg), rebounding (6.9 rpg), blocks (1.5 bpg) and FG% (50%).

•    Freddie Jackson added 11 points and 6 rebounds vs. Towson.

•    Craig Ponder had a team-high 11 points and 6 rebounds vs. NU, which was his top scoring effort since Jan. 18.

•    Tanner Milson made three treys and netted a team-best 11 points at JMU.

•    UNCW set a school record by by making only one turnover against Towson.

Northeastern

•    Went 1-1 on their road swing, losing 55-45 at UNCW but winning 60-44 at CofC.

•    Scott Eatherton averaged 16.0 ppg and 13.0 rpg last week while shooting 66.7% from the floor. He recorded double-doubles at UNCW (10pts/16reb) and CofC (22pts/10reb) to raise his NCAA-best total to 17 for the year.

•    David Walker hit 4-of-8 treys and scored a team-high 18 points at UNCW and added 10 points at CofC. He’s scored double figures in six of the last seven games.

•    Reggie Spencer averaged 11.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg for the week, including 15 points and 6 boards at CofC.

•    NU’s defense limited CofC to 44 points and just 29.6 FG shooting. It was the fewest points allowed by NU since 2009.

•    Northeastern was just 4-of-14 at the free throw line at UNCW, which was its worst FT percentage in a game since 2002. They made 11-of-16 at the line vs. CofC.

Towson

•    Split a pair of road games, losing 66-53 at UNCW but winning 85-70 at W&M. Have won five of their last six games.

•    Jerrelle Benimon posted double-doubles at UNCW (17pts/16reb) and W&M (21pts/14reb) and has an NCAA-best 17 for the year. He has 13 games with 20+ points  and 19 games with 10+ rebounds.

•    Mike Burwell hit 5-of-7 threes and scored a career-high 23 points at W&M. It was his 3rd double-digit effort in the last 4 games.

•    Marcus Damas recorded his 2nd double-double of the season at UNCW with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

•    Timajh Parker-Rivera grabbed 10 rebounds at UNCW, which was his second game with 10 or more boards this season. He followed with a career-high 12 points at W&M.

•    Towson reached the 17-win plateau at its earliest point in a season since 1977-78 and the Tigers’ 8-3 CAA start is their best ever.

William & Mary

•    Fell 85-70 to Towson on Saturday, ending a 3-game winning streak.

•    Marcus Thornton scored a season-low 6 points vs. Towson, ending an 11-game double-figure scoring streak. He had been W&M’s top scorer in 8 straight games.

•    Brandon Britt scored a team-high 16 points vs. Towson and is averaging 11.8 ppg over his last six games.

•     Tim Rusthoven had 11 points and a team-high 7 boards vs. Towson. He has 8 double-figure scoring efforts in the past 10 games.

•    Omar Prewitt hit three treys and scored 15 points off the bench vs. Towson. He leads all CAA freshmen in scoring (11.6 ppg) and is 2nd in rebounding (4.6 rpg).

•     W&M is shooting 48% from the floor and 42% from three in CAA play. The Tribe is averaging a league-best 9.1 treys made per game against CAA foes. They are also shooting 84.4% at the FT line in the last 2 games.

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