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Men’s Basketball Notebook – Jan. 20

Jan 20, 2014, 2:20 PM EST

Towson's Jerrelle Benimon

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Jerrelle Benimon • Towson
Sr., F, 6-8, 245 – Warrenton, Va./Fauquier
Benimon averaged 24.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists in leading Towson to CAA road victories at Drexel (80-68) and College of Charleston (72-57) last week. He contributed team-highs of 27 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists at DU and followed with 21 points and 11 boards at CofC. Benimon, who shot 55% from the floor for the week, has recorded double-doubles in nine straight games and has topped the 20-point mark in six consecutive contests.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Rodney Williams • Drexel
Fr., F, 6-7, 220 – Richmond, Va./St. Christopher’s
Williams averaged 4.0 points and 11.0 rebounds as Drexel split a pair of games last week. Placed into the starting lineup due to injuries, the freshman forward responded with six points and a career-high 14 rebounds versus Towson and followed by grabbing eight boards in a road victory at UNCW. He also blocked three shots in the two games.

CONFERENCE NOTES:

DELAWARE, TOWSON SIT ATOP CAA STANDINGS: Delaware and Towson are the only remaining unbeaten teams in CAA play after the first two weeks of conference action. The Blue Hens are off to a 4-0 start in the CAA for the first time since 2007-08 when they opened 5-0. UD, which has trailed at halftime in all four league contests, has won six consecutive CAA road games dating back to last season and the Hens are 13-2 in their past 15 conference road outings. Towson is 3-0 in CAA play for the second year in a row and has won 11 of its last 12 conference games dating back to last season. The Tigers are on a five-game overall winning streak, which is their longest since the 2000-01 season. The two teams will face off Saturday in Newark, Del.

ROAD TEAMS RALLY IN CAA PLAY: Road teams went 7-2 in CAA play last week after home teams had won seven of the first nine conference games. Home teams are now just 9-9 for the year and six of the nine 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: Eleven of the 18 CAA games (61.1%) played this season have been decided by seven points or less or in overtime. Northeastern has had two games go to overtime and two others with four-point margins, while Delaware and James Madison have had three contests decided by five points or less. All three of Hofstra’s CAA games have been decided by seven points or less and UNCW has had three contests with margins of seven points or less and a fourth go to overtime.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES: Along with the effort put forth by weekly honoree Jerrelle Benimon of Towson, several other CAA players turned in tremendous performances last week. Delaware guard Devon Saddler averaged 24.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 4.5 apg in the Blue Hens’ 2-0 week. He’s topped the 20-point mark in five straight games. Drexel guard Frantz Massenat averaged 25.5 ppg and 6.0 apg in the Dragons’ two games. He shot 53.3% from the floor and only committed two turnovers in 70 minutes. Hofstra guard Zeke Upshaw averaged 18.5 ppg in two games, including 27 points in a win at UNCW where he tied a school record by hitting seven 3-pointers. JMU guard Andre Nation averaged 20.5 ppg and 5.0 rpg in two games, highlighted by a career-high 25 points and five steals at W&M. Northeastern forward Scott Eatherton posted two double-doubles and averaged 16.0 ppg and 12.0 rpg in three games. W&M forward Tim Rusthoven averaged 15.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg in the Tribe’s 1-1 week. CofC forward Willis Hall averaged 17.0 ppg and 12.5 rpg in the Cougars’ two contests and has five double-doubles in his past seven games.

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. 20. Delaware was the highest ranked CAA team at #85 followed by Drexel at #95 and Towson at #109. A complete listing can be found on Page 5 of the release.

TOWSON TOUGH AT HOME: Towson is a perfect 9-0 at home this season and its 13-game home court winning streak is tied for the 12th-longest in the nation currently. The Tigers’ home court streak is 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 50 of his last 51 games, while William & Mary junior guard Marcus Thornton has reached double digits in 47 of his last 48 contests. Saddler had his 38-game streak snapped in the semifinals of the 2013 CAA Championship, but has scored double figures in all 12 of his games this year. 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 18 or more points in four of his five 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 12 according to the latest NCAA statistics released on Jan. 20. Eatherton was also 11th in rebounding (10.3 rpg) and 37th in FG percentage (56.1%) while Benimon was 5th in rebounding (11.2 rpg). In other categories, Delaware junior Jarvis Threatt ranked 44th in Division I in assists (5.3 apg) and 31st in steals (2.2 spg), while Blue Hens’ junior Kyle Anderson was 20th in 3-pointers per game (3.16) and 17th in 3-point FG% (44.8%). W&M’s Marcus Thornton was 54th in scoring (18.8 ppg) and 35th in 3-pointers per game (2.88), while Hofstra’s Zeke Upshaw was 43rd in scoring (19.1 ppg). CofC’s Willis Hall was 24th in rebounding (9.6 rpg) and 27th in double-doubles (7).

TRANSFERS MAKE AN IMPACT: Several transfers continue to make a big impact in the CAA. Hofstra’s Zeke Upshaw (Illinois State) leads the CAA in scoring with 19.1 ppg, while the Pride’s Dion Nesmith (Monmouth) is 15th (12.4 ppg) in scoring and 4th in assists (3.8 apg). Delaware’s Davon Usher (Mississippi Valley State) ranks sixth in the CAA in scoring (17.6 ppg) and 11th in rebounding (6.1 rpg). Northeastern’s Scott Eatherton (St. Francis Pa.) is among the league’s top 10 in scoring (16.7 ppg/8th), rebounding (10.3 rpg/2nd) and FG percentage (56.1%/3rd). Towson’s Four McGlynn (Vermont) ranks fourth in the CAA in 3-point FG percentage (40.8%) and sixth in 3’s per game (2.2). UNCW’s Ben Eblen (Alabama) is sixth in the CAA in assists (3.2 apg) and second in assist/TO ratio.

TAKING CARE OF THE BALL: Drexel is averaging only 9.0 turnovers per game this season, which ranks third in Division I. The Dragons have committed nine or fewer turnovers in eight of their last 10 games and haven’t turned the ball over more than 14 times in any of their 15 contests. 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 seven of its last eight games and is averaging just 7.7 tpg over that stretch.

College of Charleston

•    Split games last week, winning 58-49 at Northeastern, but losing 72-57 to Towson.

•    Willis Hall averaged 17.0 ppg and 12.5 rpg last week with double-doubles vs. NU (14pts/13reb) and Towson (20pts/12reb). He’s posted five double-doubles in the past seven games. Hall was 8-of-13 from 3-point range last week, including 4-for-4 at NU.

•    Adjehi Baru contributed 15 points and 9 rebounds vs. Towson. The 15 points were his most since Dec. 12.

•    Senior Anthony Thomas scored a season-high 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds and added five assists and five steals at NU.

•    Anthony Stitt is averaging 14.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 3.8 apg over his last four games.

•    CofC has an impressive 15-4 record in road games over the past two seasons under coach Doug Wojcik, including 4-2 this year.

•    CofC shot a season-best 53.3% (8-15) from 3 at NU and has shot better than 50% from beyond the arc in two of four CAA games.

Delaware

•    Started 4-0 in the CAA for the first time since 2007-08 and extended their winning streak to six after victories over William & Mary (76-71) and Northeastern (74-70).

•    Devon Saddler scored a team-high 26 points vs. W&M and 22 points at NU. Saddler, who ranks 2nd on UD’s career scoring list (1,930 pts), has five straight 20+ point efforts and is averaging 24.3 ppg over his last 4 games.

•    Carl Baptiste scored a career-high 19 points on 9-of-9 FG shooting at NU and also added a team-high 11 rebounds and 4 blocks.

•    Davon Usher tallied 21 points vs. W&M and 17 at NU. He’s scored double figures in 8 straight contests. Usher is averaging 19.5 ppg over his last four games.

•    Jarvis Threatt had 15 points, 6 assists and 4 steals vs. W&M, but didn’t play at NU. He’s scored double digits in 15 of his last 16 games and tops the CAA in assists and steals.

•    Delaware is averaging just 7.7 turnovers over its past eight games.

Drexel

•    Lost 80-68 to Towson last Tuesday, but rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit for a 79-63 road win at UNCW on Saturday.

•    Frantz Massenat scored a career-high 30 points with 8 assists at UNCW and had 21 points vs. Towson. He’s averaging 24.3 ppg and 6.0 apg over his last four games. He ranks 3rd in career assists (489) and 14th in career points (1,409) at DU.

•    Chris Fouch scored a team-high 28 points vs. Towson and added 14 at UNCW. He’s averaging 22.8 ppg over his last four games. He’s 4th in career treys (244) and 9th in career points (1,503) at DU.

•    Sophomore Tavon Allen, who has averaged 17.0 ppg over his last five contests, sat out both games last week with an ankle injury.

•    Junior Freddie Wilson scored a career-high 16 points, all in the 2nd half, at UNCW.

•    Freshman Rodney Williams averaged 11.0 rpg last week, including 14 boards vs. TU.

•    Drexel had just 15 TO’s last week and ranks 3rd nationally with only 9.0 tpg.

Hofstra

•    Beat UNCW 69-64 last Wednesday for their first road victory of the season, but lost 73-49 at SMU on Sunday.

•    Zeke Upshaw tied a school record with 7 treys and scored a team-high 27 points at UNCW. Upshaw has topped the 20-point mark nine times this season and is averaging 21.8 ppg over his last six contests.

•    Stephen Nwaukoni grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds at UNCW and is averaging 11.0 rpg over his past four games.

•    Jordan Allen scored 10 points at UNCW and has reached double digits in three of his past four contests.

•    Moussa Kone added 10 points on 5-6 FG shooting, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks off the bench at UNCW.

•    Freshman Chris Jenkins hit 4-of-8 treys and scored a team-high 14 points at SMU.

•    Hofstra has won back-to-back CAA games for the first time since February, 2011.

James Madison

•    Have lost four in a row after falling to Northeastern (56-52) and William & Mary (78-56) last week.

•    Andre Nation scored a career-high 25 points with 5 steals at W&M and had team-highs of 16 points and 5 rebounds vs. NU. He’s averaging 21.0 ppg over his last 3 contests.

•    Charles Cooke scored double digits for the 5th straight game with 14 points vs. NU but suffered a first-half injury at W&M.  He’s tallied 20 or more points in six of his last 12 contests and leads the team with 15.1 ppg.

•    Ron Curry added 14 points at W&M. He ranks among the CAA’s top 10 in assists and steals and has scored double figures in six of his last nine games.

•    Andrey Semenov chipped in 8 points at W&M and has scored double figures in four of his last six games.

•    The Dukes have played 15 of their first 19 games away from home this season, which is the most of any Division I team.

UNCW

•    Dropped home games to Hofstra (69-64) and Drexel (79-63) last week, extending their slide to nine games.

•    Chris Dixon was UNCW’s top scorer for the third straight game with 15 points vs. Hofstra and added 13 vs. Drexel. He’s scored double digits in 5 of his last 6 outings and is averaging 15.0 ppg over his last 4 contests.

•    Cedrick Williams scored 14 points vs. Hofstra and 11 against Drexel. He has 10 double-figure efforts in the last 11 games, and leads UNCW and is among the CAA’s top 10 in scoring (13.8 ppg), rebounding (7.2 rpg), blocked shots (1.9 bpg) and FG% (54%).

•    Craig Ponder came off the bench to score a season-high 16 points on 7-of-9 FG shooting against Drexel.

•    Luke Hager chipped in 8 points and 3 rebounds off the bench against Hofstra.

•    UNCW shot 46.3% from the floor against Hofstra, which was it best shooting performance since Dec. 15.

Northeastern

•    Went 1-2 last week, winning their first road game at JMU (56-52), but losing at home to CofC (58-49) and Delaware (74-70).

•    Scott Eatherton has an NCAA-best 14 double-doubles in 19 games after posting them vs. CofC (19 pts/career-high 16 reb) and JMU (14 pts/11 reb). He also had 16 pts and 9 reb. vs. UD. Eatherton shot 56.3% for the week, including 4-of-7 on 3-pointers.

•    David Walker scored a career-high 20 points vs. Delaware and averaged 14.0 points and 3.3 assists for the week. He’s among the top 10 in the CAA in assists and steals and ranks 17th in scoring.

•    Zach Stahl recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds against Delaware.

•    Demetrius Pollard added 12 points at JMU and is averaging 12.2 ppg over his last five contests. He has made a team-high 30 three-pointers for the season.

•    Reggie Spencer grabbed 6 rebounds vs. UD, which was his 12th consecutive game with at least five caroms.

Towson

•    Moved to 3-0 in the CAA after road victories at Drexel (80-68) and CofC (72-57) last week. On a five-game winning streak for the first time since the 2000-01 season.

•    Jerrelle Benimon has recorded 9 straight double-doubles after team-highs of 27 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists at DU and 21 points and 11 boards at CofC. He’s scored 20+ points in six consecutive games and is among the CAA’s top five in scoring, rebounding, FG%, assists and blocks.

•    Senior Marcus Damas tied his career high with 26 points at Drexel. He was 8-of-10 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from three.

•    Four McGlynn has made at least two 3-pointers in 10 of his last 12 games. He leads the Tigers with 40 treys.

•    The Tigers have captured 11 of their last 12 CAA contests.

•    Towson shot 55.3% from the floor at Drexel, which was its best performance since Dec. 10, and committed a season-low five turnovers in the win at CofC.

William & Mary

•    Split two games last week, falling 76-71 at Delaware before rolling past JMU 78-56. Have won 9 of their past 12 contests.

•     Tim Rusthoven averaged 15.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg last week and became the 17th W&M player to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career.

•    Marcus Thornton hit 4-of-6 treys and scored a team-high 20 points vs. JMU. He’s scored double figures in 47 of his last 48 games and has seven 20-point efforts this season.

•    Omar Prewitt has tallied double digits in 12 of 16 games and leads all CAA freshmen in scoring (13.5 ppg) and rebounds (5.0 rpg).

•    Brandon Britt added 12 points in both games last week and is averaging 13.0 ppg over his last three contests.

•    Terry Tarpey posted his first career double-double at Delaware with 10 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.

•     W&M shot 56.9% overall and hit 10 threes vs. JMU. The Tribe has made 10+ treys in 8 of their past 11 games and is shooting over 40% from 3 over that stretch.

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For the fourth time since 2013, @cofcvolleyball will play for the #CAAChamps 🏆! Cougars outlasted Hofstra tonight behind a career match from Devon Rachel. Hats off to @hofstravb as well on a great season. Whole squad movin’ on mood:

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