Checking in on… the CAA

Posted by jstevrtc on January 11th, 2010

Ryan Restivo of the MAAC-based SienaSaintsBlog is the RTC correspondent for the Colonial Athletic Association.

Standings (as of 1/10):

  1. William & Mary (12-3, 4-1)
  2. Old Dominion (12-5, 4-1)
  3. George Mason (9-7, 4-1)
  4. Northeastern (9-7, 4-1)
  5. Drexel (8-9, 3-2)
  6. VCU (10-4, 2-3)
  7. James Madison (8-7, 2-3)
  8. Hofstra (9-8, 2-3)
  9. Georgia State (8-9, 2-3)
  10. UNC Wilmington (6-9, 2-3)
  11. Delaware (5-11, 1-4)
  12. Towson (3-11, 0-5)

Important Games This Week:

Wed 1/13

  • Delaware @ Northeastern — Northeastern will likely run their winning streak to eight matching a winning streak from five years ago.
  • Old Dominion @ UNC Wilmington — Wilmington is a good sleeper candidate, they face a tough week playing ODU and then going to hot Northeastern.

Sat 1/16

  • George Mason @ James Madison — Another tough road test for the Patriots, who only have one road win all season. They’ve lost their last two road games by 25 and 27 and the Dukes are 5-1 at home this season.

Team Reviews:

William & Mary (4-1)

Monday night The Tribe snapped their school-record tying 10 game win streak on a John Fields tip in with 3.4 seconds to go. The Tribe tied a 1929-30 record with that 10 game win streak. Not only were they outrebounded in the second half, 29-16, but they gave up 13 offensive rebounds in the second half alone. William & Mary senior forward Steven Hess put it best, “I think teams are going to come after us on the boards now. We just kind of got manhandled inside.” On Wednesday senior David Schneider nailed a three pointer with 2.8 seconds left to give the Tribe a 74-73 overtime win at Delaware. Schneider scored 11 of his season-high 26 points in overtime. His first three pointer set a new school record for threes with 224. Saturday the Tribe shot 65.2% in the second half and the defense held Drexel to a 24.1% field goal percentage in a 73-48 rout. Sophomore Quinn McDowell led all scorers with 20 points and has scored at least one point in every single game in his career.

Old Dominion (4-1)

The Monarchs made a position switch Monday night moving sophomore Kent Bazemore to point guard, senior Gerald Lee to small forward and junior Darius James came off the bench to play shooting guard. All of the switches paid off this week. Lee scored a team-high 19, Bazemore set career highs in points (14) and assists (9) as Old Dominion cruised to a 16 point win over Towson. Wednesday night wasn’t as easy. After a crucial block with the game tied, ODU went on a two-on-one break leading to Ben Finney’s layup with 13 seconds to go to beat the Dukes, 74-72. Bazemore beat his career high again with 19 points and had only one turnover. On Saturday, the Monarchs shot a season-low 33.3% from the field but held on to a lead as large as 15 in a 57-46 win over Hofstra. Making 14-34 free throws, (41.2%) the Monarchs struggled to barely beat their season worst free throw percentage when they made just 2-5 at Georgetown.

George Mason (4-1)

Sophomore Ryan Pearson scored 10 of his team-high 17 points in the final 5:40 in a hard fought 67-63 win over Hofstra  on Monday. The Patriots made 14-18 free throws in the second half, making eight in the final three minutes to seal the win. Sophomore Andre Cornelius and freshman Luke Hancock scored 21 of their combined 24 points in the second half. On Wednesday the Patriots got run over by Northeastern’s three-point barrage in a blowout loss,  71-46. The Huskies went on a 14-3 run to secure a double-digit lead. Ryan Pearson led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds.  On Saturday, the Patriots reversed their performance by using runs of 16-1 and 10-3 to take a double-digit lead they would never give up in a 13-point win over UNC Wilmington. Sophomore Mike Morrison led the way with a team-high 15 points.

Northeastern (4-1)

Northeastern, the only team to beat the Rams in their last 23 home games, won by forcing the Rams to take outside shots and playing tough defense in a 62-57 win. Manny Adako scored a season-high 23 points on 11-14 shooting. Chaisson Allen followed up Thursday, tying a career-high making six three-pointers in a 71-46 win over George Mason. The Huskies stifled the young Patriots at home committing a season-low eight turnovers to a season-high 16 assists. To cap it off Saturday, Matt Janning led the way with a season-high 23 points on 8-15 shooting as the Huskies shot 51.2% in a 66-54 victory at Georgia State. The Huskies are currently on a seven game winning streak, their best since their eight game win streak in the 2004-05 season.

Drexel (3-2)

The Dragons started out hot and never surrendered the lead at Georgia State, shooting a season high 68% in the first half and getting a career-high 32 points from Jamie Harris, in a 72-57 win Monday night. Wednesday, Drexel snapped a seven game losing streak against VCU with a 75-72 win. Gerald Colds and Chris Fouch each scored 19 points. Harris helped stifle VCU’s aggressive defense with 15 points and 8 assists. Saturday was a completely different story as Drexel shot a season-low 24.1% from the field in a 25 point home loss to William & Mary. Gerald Colds led the way for the Dragons with 15 points.

VCU (2-3)

The Rams started out with a 21-4 run, but went cold making just four of their next 21 shots and Northeastern grinded out baskets dealing the Rams a 62-57 loss. Larry Sanders (10 points) was forced to take outside shots and made his first field goal with 17:25 left. Northeastern never let VCU get to the bonus, a team that averaged 17.8 free throws made per game going into the game, forcing them into a season-low four free throws (they hit three). The last time VCU made three or fewer free throws in a game was a February 17, 2007 loss against Bradley (3 for 8), a span of 84 games. On Wednesday, VCU made 20 of 21 free throws but Sanders missed the only one with a chance tie the game with 13.1 seconds left in a 75-72 road loss to Drexel. VCU’s best defender Ed Nixon played only one minute and that played into the hands of Drexel’s hot shooting (10-17) from behind the arc. Derek Burgess scored a career high 30 points on 9-14 shooting. Saturday the Rams had to go without Larry Sanders due to a one game suspension for hitting Drexel’s Evan Neisler but junior Brandon Rozzell led the way scoring a career-high 19 points as VCU was able to coast past Delaware 77-64.

James Madison (2-3)

The Dukes found out sophomore Andrey Semenov’s lingering back issue will cost him the season. Last Saturday’s one game suspension for Denzel Bowles was for three alcohol-related misdemeanors on New Year’s Day. Bowles and Julius Wells combined to shoot 22-41 (53.6%) while the rest of the team combined to take only 18 shots in the Dukes’ 71-65 win over Delaware. Wells, however, could not hit a three pointer with time expiring in a 74-72 loss at Old Dominion. The Dukes made one field goal in the final four and a half minutes. A clutch Ben Louis three pointer with 1.5 seconds left gave the Dukes a 69-66 win over Towson. Wells went for 23 points, scoring 20+ points in each game this week, and Bowles added 21. The star power of Wells (76 points) and Bowles (64 points) combined for two-thirds of the Dukes scoring (212 points) this week.

Hofstra (2-3)

Freshman Chaz Williams scored a career-high 20 points but junior Charles Jenkins was held to 11 points as Hofstra lost 67-63 to George Mason. Halil Kanacevic had a career-high 18 points, 10 rebounds and career-high 5 blocks in Hofstra’s 77-61 Wednesday win over Towson. Williams scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half, leading Hofstra on a 20-6 run to close out the first half. Hofstra could not keep the momentum, struggling in the half court and could not close the gap late in a 57-46 Saturday loss at Old Dominion. Jenkins, their only double-digit scorer on the night, led the way with 18 points. The Pride turned the ball over 21 times, one off their season-high.

Georgia State (2-3)

Head coach Ron Barnes said the Panthers got a wake up call Monday night, but he needed one for the whole week. The Panthers struggled, trailing by as many as 21 points in a 72-57 home loss to Drexel, snapping an eight game home win streak. Wednesday night, Trae Goldston missed a potential game-tying three with 24 seconds left in a 57-50 loss to UNC Wilmington. Joe Dukes had a team-high 21 points on 8-23 shooting but the rest of the team shot 30.7% for the game. Georgia State saw an early lead evaporate Saturday versus Northeastern, and an 11-0 Huskies run put them in control in a 12-point home loss. The Panthers had closed the Northeastern lead to two at halftime, but the Huskies stormed out on a 16-3 run to put the game out of reach. Dukes (15 points) led the way on 5-13 shooting. The Panthers have been plagued by poor shooting and have shot under 40% in 10 of their 17 games this season. The Panthers were outrebounded this week by 17 (106-91).

UNC Wilmington (2-3)

Chad Tomko’s layup missed but John Fields fought successfully for the tip in with 3.5 seconds left to beat William & Mary, 62-61. UNC Wilmington had the lead only three times, twice with under a minute to go. They beat the Tribe on the glass by outrebounding William & Mary 45-34, which included 19 offensive rebounds. On Wednesday, Fields scored 13 points and grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds to lift UNC Wilmington in a 57-50 win over Georgia State, despite the Seahawks shooting 34.6% in the second half. Tomko, cousin of major league pitcher Brett Tomko, added 6 of his 10 points in the second half. Saturday was a different story. Fields got frustrated against swarming George Mason defenders and the Seahawks struggled to score, falling at George Mason, 59-46. Fields, constantly double- and triple-teamed, scored only four points as they disrupted his post game and tempted him to go to his weak side. Turnovers plagued the Seahawks as they have turned the ball over 20 times or more in four of their last five games.

Delaware  (1-4)

Jawan Carter had a career-high 11 assists and scored double digit points (18) for the seventh straight game but the Blue Hens could not extend their two-game win streak, falling 71-65 at James Madison on Monday. Wednesday was an even better chance for their second CAA win; Jawan Carter made a three pointer with 22 seconds left to send the game to overtime but the Blue Hens could not hold their largest lead of the game — up by seven with 32 seconds left — in a tough 74-73 loss to William & Mary. The Blue Hens shot a season-best 12-26 from three-point range. Sophomore Adam Pegg scored ten at James Madison and set a new career high of 13 against the Tribe. On Saturday, Delaware missed their first eight shots of the second half and could not recover as VCU put them away, 77-64.  Carter, the only double-digit scorer for the Blue Hens, scored 22 points. Delaware has lost 14 straight conference road games.

Towson (0-5)

Head Coach Pat Kennedy notched his second career ejection in 893 games when he drew two straight technical fouls with 8:56 to go as Old Dominion blew out his Tigers, 87-71, on Monday night. Towson shot 48.3% against a tough defense, their best since their season-opening win over Miami (Ohio) when they shot 52.6%, but they were outrebounded by 21. Wednesday, Robert Nwankwo had his fourth double-double of the season (14 points, 10 rebounds) while recording a team-high six blocks but the Tigers could not close the gap, losing 77-61 at Hofstra. The Tigers tied a team high in free throws made (20) but tied a team low in field goals made (19). On Saturday, the Tigers held the lead twice in the last two and half minutes but JMU got a three pointer from Ben Louis to deal the Tigers a 69-66 loss. The Tigers are on a six game losing streak and are the only team yet to record a win in the CAA.

When not covering the CAA for Rush The Court, Ryan writes about Fantasy Baseball on Rotosavants.com and writes on his own website: RyanRestivo.com. Ryan is busy being immersed in baseball draft prep and has a very cool Fantasy Baseball project for drafts. You can contact him here.

Share this story

Checking in on… the CAA

Posted by jstevrtc on January 4th, 2010

Ryan Restivo of the MAAC-based SienaSaintsBlog is the RTC correspondent for the Colonial Athletic Association.

Standings (as of 1/2):

  1. William & Mary (10-2, 2-0)
  2. Georgia State (8-6, 2-0)
  3. George Mason (7-6, 2-0)
  4. VCU (9-2, 1-1)
  5. Old Dominion (9-5, 1-1)
  6. Hofstra (8-6, 1-1)
  7. Northeastern (6-7, 1-1)
  8. Drexel (6-8, 1-1)
  9. Delaware (5-8, 1-1)
  10. James Madison (6-6, 0-2)
  11. UNC Wilmington (4-8, 0-2)
  12. Towson (3-8, 0-2)

Important Games This Week

Monday 1/4:

UNC Wilmington @ William & Mary — One of the best three point shooting teams (W&M) versus one of the best three point defenses (UNC-W).  Can UNC Wilmington snap W & M’s ten game win streak?

Northeastern @ Virginia Commonwealth — Northeastern has disappointed so far this season amid lofty expectations, will they turn it around against one of the CAA’s hottest teams?

Saturday 1/9:

Hofstra @ Old Dominion — Old Dominion is undefeated at home this season, the Pride and Monarchs are both very good defensive teams.  Expect a battle in the 40-50 range in Norfolk.

Team Reviews

William & Mary is on a Roll. The Tribe have won ten straight, a new school record, and won 48-47 at Hofstra on a Kendrix Brown three point play to continue their historic season.  William & Mary is 2-0 in the CAA for the first time since 1997-98.  The Tribe have not started this well since 1948-49 when they started 14-2.

More impressively, the Tribe never gave up the lead at Maryland after the 4:44 mark in the first half in a convincing 83-77 win in College Park.  After dropping their first two games to Connecticut by nine and Harvard in triple-overtime, the Tribe have racked up impressive statement wins over Richmond, Wake Forest and Maryland.  According to Kenpom.com, their Offensive efficiency is tops in the nation (124.2).

Georgia State is a Mystery.   With no impressive wins on the schedule so far, Georgia State enters conference play at 8-6, and kind of a mystery.  An example:  they took a lead as high as 15 on Saturday against Towson (3-8) only to trail by two with 6:27 to go in the game.  Trey Hampton led the way with 22 points on 9-10 shooting from the field as they showed no rust from a ten-day layoff.

George Mason Starts Off New Decade Right. After posting a one of their worst losses, a 27-point loss to Radford, to close the decade, the Patriots started off the new decade right.  George Mason went on an 18-4 run to take what was a one point game and push it to a 16 point victory.  Ryan Pearson led the way for the Patriots with 17 points and tied a season-high eight field goals made.

VCU…New Decade, No Problem.  Every single VCU player scored at least two points in a 91-57 blowout over UNC Wilmington.  VCU led by as many as 46 and Larry Sanders scored a team-high 16 points in only 19 minutes.  Sanders and the Rams haven’t been tested since grinding out a one point win on December 19th over Tulane.  Sanders has scored in double-digits in every game but one this season and has improved his scoring as well as his field goal and free throw percentages in his junior year.

Defensive Letdown in Fairfax. The Old Dominion Monarchs did not show up in the second half in a double-digit loss to George Mason, and snapped a three game win streak.  The Monarchs have played a tough non-conference schedule and were finally reaping the benefits of their defensive prowess with wins over Georgetown and the Atlantic 10’s Charlotte and Duquesne.

ODU had won five out of its last six entering the game but did not bring the defense that has held opponents to an effective field goal percentage of 42.3% entering Saturday.  They allowed George Mason to dominate inside going 22-41 (53.6%) from inside the arc.  The last time ODU allowed a team to score over 70 points was January 31, 2009 — a span of 28 games.

Hofstra’s Train is Delayed.  What was supposed to be Charles Jenkins’ coming out party this season has been a slight disappointment.  Jenkins has not scored over 20 points in his last three games and was stifled, along with the entire Hofstra offense, in a tough one point loss to William & Mary.  Jenkins scored 23 points on national television at Kansas and followed that up later in November with 38 points against Fairfield at home but otherwise teams have been able to contain him, and the Pride have yet to develop any other threats for their CAA counterparts to guard.  Their next leading scorer, Nathaniel Lester, has two more three-point attempts (24) than turnovers (22) and has regressed from his three point field goal percentage last season.  Hofstra’s best win out of conference might be their four point win over Fairfield, a middling team in the MAAC; they have yet to show that they can compete with the upper echelon of the conference.

Northeastern Managing Expectations. The Huskies entered the 2009-10 season as the preseason #2 team, second only to Old Dominion.  Behind preseason first team all-CAA Matt Janning’s senior leadership, they were expected to rack up quality wins in the non-conference.  The Huskies, however, got on a five game losing streak which included a home loss to Providence and ended with a 15 point loss to Western Michigan.  They were able to recover in Honolulu and win on Christmas over Southern Methodist and showed on Saturday why they have the offense to be a force in the CAA.

The Huskies shot 60% from the floor and scored a season-high 47 points in the first half to blow out James Madison, 73-61.  To put it in perspective, they matched their lowest point total in a game (47 in a two point loss to Drexel) in one half to even their record at 1-1.

Drexel Looking to Rebound.  The Dragons have managed to play many close games but have ended up n the wrong side of all but one this season.  Saturday at Delaware was an enigma.  Having a lead as large as 13 in the first half only to squander it in under six minutes out of the break.  Drexel went cold from the field, shooting 35% in the second half. Leading scorer Jamie Harris scored 11 of his team-high 18 points in the first half.

The Dragons have been on two separate three game win streaks this year for all six of their wins.  They have been led by Harris, who has scored in double-digits in every win but one this season.  Drexel’s offense has not impressed this year and shooting has been the problem.  Shooting less than 30% behind the arc and just over 45% inside it has not helped a team that shoots free throws at 63.3%, good for 303rd in the nation.

Blue Hen Win Streak. Delaware has a two game win streak for the first time since the start of last year.  Led by St. Joseph’s transfer Jawan Carter, who has scored double digits in every game but one, Delaware looks poised to improve on last year’s six CAA wins.  Their problem is that they’ve taken too many three-pointers and shot only 27.1% (324th in the country, last in the CAA) from behind the arc.

James Madison Starting to Come Alive. Texas A&M transfer Denzel Bowles fits the Matt Brady trend of players he can give the ball to and just let them go.  Bowles has averaged over 20 points since debuting in December but sat out a one game suspension for violating team rules on Saturday.  Bowles will probably be given the reins for the rest of the year when he is in the lineup (expected back on Monday night against Delaware).  He has taken double-digit shots in every game but one; he took nine shots in their four-point loss at Stanford.  The proclaimed shot doctor Brady has fixed the Dukes’ two point shooting to where it’s the best in the league (50.7%, 85th in the nation).  They have a chance Monday to snap a two game losing streak against Delaware but then travel to Old Dominion, a team Brady has not beaten on the road in his two tries (0-2 with Marist & James Madison).

UNC Wilmington’s Good and Bad News. The positives for the Seahawks?  They notched an early non-conference win over Penn State on a neutral floor and have one of the best perimeter defenses in the country.  The bad news?  Their offense has struggled mightily, shooting only 16% in the first half and getting down 29-4 in a 91-57 loss at VCU.  The Seahawks have turned the ball over at least 15 times in every game but one this season.  They turned the ball over a season-high 28 times Saturday, 15 in the first half alone.  Monday night doesn’t promise to be any better at conference leader William & Mary, either.

Towson Continues to Struggle.  The Tigers shot a season low 33.9% in losing at Georgia State, 70-61.  The problems this season have been mostly on the defensive end for the Tigers, ranking last among CAA teams in FG% defense and rebounding margin.  Towson will embark on attempting to break some bad trends this week.  Towson has yet to win a road game (0-4) this season and will get two chances at Hofstra and James Madison.  They will also try to break a record against Old Dominion, as eighth-year head coach Pat Kennedy has yet to beat the Monarchs.  The last time the Tigers beat Old Dominion was a 67-55 win in 2002, their only win in the 12-game series history.

Share this story