Delaware (11-7) at Northeastern (5-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 18, 12 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Matthews Arena (5,066) -- Boston, Massachusetts. Television: Comcast SportsNet. Home Record: Delaware 5-1, Northeastern 2-4. Away Record: Delaware 5-6, Northeastern 1-6. Neutral Record: Delaware 1-0, Northeastern 2-3. Conference Record: Delaware 3-0, Northeastern 2-2. Series Record: Delaware leads, 23-19.
GAME NOTES: The Delaware Blue Hens take aim at their sixth consecutive victory as they journey to Matthews Arena for Colonial Athletic Association action against the Northeastern Huskies.
The Blue Hens defeated William & Mary, 76-71, on Wednesday for their third straight CAA win. Delaware has now began league play with three wins in a row for the second straight year under coach Monte Ross, who has compiled a 101-138 career record with the program. The Blue Hens have been sensational on the offensive end en route to an average of 80.9 ppg, which is the highest among all CAA programs. However, Delaware is also ranked last in the conference in scoring defense with its allowance of 78.2 ppg.
Northeastern is nowhere near as potent on the offensive end as it is netting only 66 ppg on 43.7 percent efficiency from the floor. The Huskies are also surrendering 69.5 ppg while allowing their opponents to sink 38.1 percent from behind the 3-point line. They snapped a two-game losing slide their last time out with a 56-52 victory at James Madison. The win improved NU to a 2-2 league record as part of its 5-13 overall standing. Coach Bill Coen's teams have historically improved after December. NU has won 20 of its last 27 games played in the month of January.
NU and UD will be meeting for the 43rd time in history on Saturday. The Blue Hens holds a slight 23-19 edge in the all-time series, but the Huskies are 12-4 against UD in CAA regular-season play.
The Blue Hens' perfect start to their league slate is quite remarkable considering they have trailed by double digits in each of their three CAA games and have been behind at the half during all three. UD trailed by the Tribe by 13 before rallying for the five-point decision. Devon Saddler had a game-high 26 points versus the William & Mary while Davon Usher scored 21 with the help of a 5-of-8 clip from 3-point range. Jarvis Threatt added 15 points and six assists, while Carl Baptiste returned from an ankle injury to pull down eight boards. Sadler has tallied 22 points or more in four-straight games and is only 123 points shy of Mike Pegues's school record of 2,030 career points. Usher has connected on five attempts from beyond the arc in two consecutive outings.
To keep their winning streak intact, the Blue Hens will need to figure out a way to slow down NU's Scott Eatherton, who registered his NCAA-leading 14th double-double and fourth straight with 14 points and 11 rebounds in Wednesday's win over the Dukes. The junior forward ranks in the top two in the CAA in six categories and leads NU with 16.8 ppg and 10.4 rpg. David Walker is second in the scoring column for the Huskies at 11.4 ppg, while Reggie Spencer is third in scoring with 9.6 ppg and second in rebounding (7.4). NU held JMU to 37.3 percent shooting from the field, but made good on only 12-of-23 attempts at the charity stripe its last time out.
The Huskies will need to convert their free-throw attempts to have a chance of ending UD's winning streak. The strong inside play of Eatherton will definitely keep NU within striking distance, but the Huskies' backcourt may be overmatched by Saddler and company.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northeastern 76, Delaware 73
01/18 10:15:00 ET