Hofstra (10-22) vs. Delaware (22-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 8, 12 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Baltimore Arena (14,000) -- Baltimore, Maryland. Television: Comcast SportsNet. Home Record: Hofstra 7-8, Delaware 10-2. Away Record: Hofstra 1-13, Delaware 11-7. Neutral Record: Hofstra 2-1, Delaware 1-0. Conference Record: Hofstra 5-11, Delaware 14-2. Series Record: Hofstra leads, 48-30.
GAME NOTES: The good news is that the Hofstra Pride won their first-round matchup against UNC Wilmington on Friday night, the bad news has the team turning around barely 12 hours later to challenge the top-seeded Delaware Blue Hens in the quarterfinals of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament at Baltimore Arena.
After finishing off the regular season last weekend with an 82-71 win over James Madison, the Pride ramped up their efforts last night versus the Seahawks and came away with a 78-70 victory, just the third triumph away from home all season for the program. Hofstra, the eighth seed in this event, is now 9-12 in the tournament all-time and continues to seek a first-ever CAA postseason title.
As for the Blue Hens, they earned the first seed in the CAA Tournament for the first time since joining the league. The three previous times Delaware was the top program entering its respective tournament, it came away with the championship. Owners of a 13-game win streak during the regular season, the Hens closed out with an 89-86 win against the College of Charleston last weekend.
Familiar foes over the years, this is the 79th meeting all-time between these two programs, with the Blue Hens trailing in the series by a 48-30 margin, even though Delaware swept the season series in 2013-14.
The winner of this meeting will go up against the survivor of the Northeastern/Drexel matchup in the semifinals on Sunday for the right to appear in the title game Monday night.
Hofstra shot only 5-of-17 behind the 3-point line and was 19-of-31 at the charity stripe last night, yet it scored points when it counted down the stretch in the eight-point victory over the Seahawks. Fielding a mere seven players, five scored in double figures for the Pride, led by Zeke Upshaw with his 23 points on 4-of-7 shooting beyond the arc, followed by Dion Nesmith with 15 points, Stephen Nwaukoni logged a double-double in s reserve role with 10 points and a game-high 14 boards, while Moussa Kone came up a rebound shy of his own double-double as he dropped in 11 points, followed by Jamall Robinson with 10.
Upshaw and Nesmith have been the primary offensive providers for the Pride all season long, the former putting up 19.8 ppg and the latter 13.2 ppg as they've combined to knock down 147 of the unit's 223 3-pointers over the course of 32 outings.
The return of Jarvis Threatt to active status after being suspended for a month, gives the Blue Hens yet another option to turn to on offense. Although he appeared in just seven of their 16 conference outings, Threatt still played more than 37 minutes per game as he tallied 18.0 ppg, cleared 5.4 rpg and was second in assists with 43, putting up 13 dishes in the regular-season finale.
Ahead of Threatt in the scoring column are Davon Usher (21.6 ppg) and Devon Saddler (20.1 ppg), the former responsible for 41.3 percent shooting on the perimeter and 5.5 rpg, the latter pulling down 5.3 rpg and dishing out 68 assists. Carl Baptiste (11.4 ppg) has been muscling his way around the paint for another 8.9 rpg, and yet the Blue Hens have been losing the battle of the boards by an average of 3.4 rpg in conference play.
Delaware has never won the championship in the CAA Tournament and is just 8-12 in the event over the years, but many believe that the squad needs to win it all by Monday night in order to take a spot in the NCAA Tournament. If nothing else, the team will make it to the semifinals on Sunday given how much offensive firepower they now possess.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Delaware 82, Hofstra 73
03/08 10:14:38 ET