Jan 11, 2013, 3:57 PM EDT
Ten days into CAA play and only three teams are still unbeaten – Northeastern (3-0), Towson (3-0) and Delaware (2-0). That number will be reduced by at least one on Saturday as the Huskies and Tigers face off in Towson. While getting off to a great start is certainly preferred, it doesn’t guarantee a regular-season title. Just a year ago, Drexel started 0-2 in conference play before reeling off 16 straight victories to grab the top spot.
Here are some notes heading into the five conference games on Saturday. ODU is off on Saturday and returns to action on Wednesday at UNCW.
Northeastern at Towson – Noon
Towson is 3-0 for the first time ever in CAA play and is on a four-game winning streak for the first time since 2000.
Northeastern is 3-0 in the CAA for the first time since 2008-09, which includes a road victory at preseason league favorite Drexel and a triumph at George Mason, which snapped the Patriots’ 18-game home win streak vs. league foes.
Towson junior forward Jerrelle Benimon continued his stellar play with 26 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks in the 99-86 double-overtime victory over William & Mary on Wednesday. It was the 10th double-double in 14 games for Benimon, who ranks among the league’s top five in scoring, rebounding, FG percentage and blocked shots. Junior Marcus Damas added 19 points against the Tribe and has reached double digits in six of his past seven outings.
Northeastern sophomore Reggie Spencer had team-high 17 points and seven rebounds in the 63-58 overtime win at Drexel last Tuesday. It was Spencer’s 10th double-figure performance of the season. Forward Quincy Ford added 14 points, including a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left in regulation that sent the contest to overtime. Jonathan Lee is averaging 14.0 ppg since returning from a preseason foot injury.
Delaware at Georgia State – Noon (Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and Philadelphia, CSS)
Delaware is 2-0 in CAA play and has won four in a row overall after beating Hofstra 69-54 last Wednesday.
Georgia State erased a 12-point second-half deficit but fell 52-50 at Hofstra last Monday. The Panthers have lost six of their last seven, but five of those setbacks have been by five points or less.
Delaware junior Devon Saddler, who leads the league in scoring (20.0 ppg), tallied a team-high 23 points vs. Hofstra. It was his 21st straight game in double figures and his sixth 20-point effort this season.
Delaware senior Jamelle Hagins is 16 points shy of 1,000 for his career and needs eight rebounds to pass Spencer Dunkley as the Blue Hens’ career rebounding leader.
Georgia State freshman R.J. Hunter leads all CAA freshmen in scoring (16.0 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg) and is one of five freshmen in the nation to be averaging at least 16 points and five rebounds per game. He had a team-high 13 points at Hofstra.
GSU junior point guard Devonta White has scored double digits in 11 consecutive games and 15 of 16 this season. He also leads the league in steals and ranks fifth in assists.
George Mason at UNCW – 2 p.m. (Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Plus, CSN-New England, The Comcast Network – Philadelphia, WECT in Wilmington, N.C.
Mason shot 57.7% from the floor, including 75% (18-24) in the second half, in a 71-46 triumph over Old Dominion on Thursday. The Patriots’ bench accounted for 58 points, including 15 from freshman Patrick Holloway and a career-high 13 from junior Paris Bennett.
Junior Sherrod Wright scored just one point against ODU, ending a streak of six consecutive games with 19 or more points. Despite the off night, Wright is still ranked among the CAA’s top five in scoring and field goal percentage.
Mason leads the CAA in scoring defense (61.9 ppg) and ranks second in FG percentage defense (40.2%).
UNCW fell 78-50 at James Madison on Wednesday, which was its 15th straight road setback. However, the Seahawks are 5-1 at home this season.
Senior Keith Rendleman scored a team-high 17 points at JMU, which was his sixth straight game in double digits. Rendleman, who has seven double-doubles this season, is five rebounds shy of 900 for his career.
Guard Craig Ponder is averaging 13.4 ppg over his last five games.
Drexel at James Madison – 4 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)
JMU ended a two-game losing streak by rolling past UNCW 78-50 on Wednesday. The Dukes have won five of their last seven games.
Senior Rayshawn Goins scored a team-high 18 points in the UNCW victory and is averaging 17.3 ppg and 10.2 rpg over his last four games.
Senior A.J. Davis recorded his first double-double against the Seahawks with 16 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
Drexel fell 63-58 in overtime to Northeastern on Tuesday. It was the Dragons’ second straight CAA loss after winning 17 conference games in a row.
Junior guard Frantz Massenat scored a team-high 19 points against Northeastern and is averaging 20.3 ppg over his last three games.
Senior Daryl McCoy has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in three of his last four games and is averaging 11.2 rpg during that stretch.
Both teams are dealing with injuries to key players. JMU’s Andrey Semenov is out with an ankle injury. Drexel’s Damion Lee missed the NU game with a knee injury and his status is unknown for Saturday.
William & Mary at Hofstra – 4 pm
Hofstra is playing its third conference game of the week after edging Georgia State 52-50 at home last Monday before losing 69-54 at Delaware on Wednesday.
Senior point guard Stevie Mejia scored a team-high 17 points against GSU, including the game-winning layup with five seconds to go. He’s also third in the league in assists.
Backcourt mate Taran Buie had his nine-game double-figure scoring streak come to an end against the Hens but is still 14th in the conference in scoring with 13.8 ppg.
W&M has dropped four in a row, including a tough 99-86 double-overtime setback at Towson on Wednesday.
Sophomore Marcus Thornton drained six treys and scored a team-high 24 points at Towson. He’s scored double figures in 16 straight games and is second in the league in scoring with 18.4 ppg.
Junior guard Brandon Britt tallied all 17 of his points after halftime at Towson and is contributing 17.5 ppg over his last two contests.
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