Drexel (14-12) at Delaware (20-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, February 23, 3 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bob Carpenter Center (5,000) -- Newark, Delaware. Television: CSN-MA, PHI, NE. Home Record: Drexel 7-4, Delaware 10-1. Away Record: Drexel 5-7, Delaware 9-7. Neutral Record: Drexel 2-1, Delaware 1-0. Conference Record: Drexel 6-7, Delaware 12-1. Series Record: Delaware leads, 77-72.
GAME NOTES: Familiar foes get together at the Bob Carpenter Center this afternoon, as the Drexel Dragons and the Delaware Blue Hens meet for the 150th time.
The Blue Hens enter play today still all alone in first place in the Colonial Athletic Association standings, sporting a record of 12-1, with the lone setback coming against second-place Towson earlier this week. That loss to the Tigers on the road snapped the program's lengthy 13-game win streak, but the Hens were able to rebound on Wednesday with an 81-77 victory versus Hofstra in New York.
Meanwhile, the Dragons are a game under .500 in conference play at 6-7, but that still has the squad in the top half of the standings at the moment. Playing into overtime for the fourth time this season, Drexel came up short versus James Madison on the road four nights ago, 63-61, the team's second loss in three outings.
Delaware, which is undefeated in conference play at home through seven games, won the first meeting of the year with Drexel up in Philadelphia by a score of 90-77 last month. As a result of that decision, the all-time series now stands at 77-72 in favor of the Blue Hens.
At the Convocation Center in Virginia earlier this week, Drexel made a total of just 15 field goals in regulation, but was still able to get to overtime before falling by two points versus the Dukes. Frantz Massenat was credited with 15 points and Chris Fouch 13, but the duo combined to shoot only 7-of-32 from the field, and that included 1-of-8 behind the 3-point line. Tavon Allen added 11 points off the bench, but he too was anaemic from the floor (3- of-12).
Among the top-five scorers in the history of Drexel basketball, Fouch is posting 17.8 ppg on the season, but he is shooting only 39.3 percent from the floor. Massenat is also good for 17.8 ppg overall, a slightly better 20.9 ppg in conference action, but unlike Fouch he is also a key figure in keeping the offense running, thanks to 130 assists. The Dragons have one other active double-digit scorer in Allen with 12.2 ppg, but one has to wonder where the program would have been if Damion Lee (13.0 ppg) didn't go down with a knee injury just weeks into the campaign.
Devon Saddler's layup with 47 seconds remaining in regulation snapped a 75-75 tie with Hofstra and pushed the Blue Hens out in front for good at the Mack Sports Complex. Saddler finished with 24 points and logged all seven of his team's assists, while Davon Usher led the club in scoring overall with 27 points, although he shot only 1-of-5 from behind the 3-point line. Kyle Anderson contributed 18 points and eight rebounds, and Carl Baptiste did complete the double-double with 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
In conference play, Usher is generating a hefty 23.1 ppg, thanks to 43.4 percent accuracy out on the perimeter. As well as Usher may be playing, the better all-around performer for Delaware is probably Saddler who, despite coming off the bench in three league contests, is averaging 20.5 ppg and 5.2 rpg, as well as handing out 63 of the unit's 127 assists through 13 CAA tests. Like Drexel, the Hens are also missing a key component in Jarvis Threatt (17.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg) who has been suspended.
With the CAA Tournament just around the corner, the Blue Hens have to keep their focus and key their efforts on Fouch and Massenat because they are the two Drexel players that could hurt them the most today.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Delaware 81, Drexel 67
02/23 10:19:55 ET