Drexel (11-15) at Delaware (14-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 21, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bob Carpenter Center (5,000) -- Newark, Delaware. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: Drexel 4-8, Delaware 7-4. Away Record: Drexel 6-5, Delaware 6-7. Neutral Record: Drexel 1-2, Delaware 1-2. Conference Record: Drexel 7-7, Delaware 9-5. Series Record: Delaware leads, 75-72.
GAME NOTES: With time running out in the regular season, the Delaware Blue Hens try to move even closer to the top in the Colonial Athletic Association standings as they host the Drexel Dragons at the Bob Carpenter Center on Thursday night.
Currently showing a 9-5 mark in league play, the Blue Hens are in the top half of the standings even after losing a heartbreaker to James Madison on Sunday by a final of 72-71 in front of the hometown crowd in Newark. The defeat snapped what had been a three-game win streak for Delaware, and was just the second setback for the team in the last eight games overall.
Meanwhile, the Dragons have faced a long and difficult road in 2012-13, having lost one of their top performers (Chris Fouch, 16.7 ppg) just weeks into the campaign. The squad has won just twice in the last five outings, the latest coming on Monday night versus Hofstra by a score of 63-54 at home. Still, Drexel has only broken even in 14 CAA bouts and is four games under .500 overall.
Delaware won the first meeting of the season between the teams by a count of 66-64 in Philadelphia back in late January. Now with a 75-72 advantage in the all-time series, the Blue Hens are aiming for their first season sweep of Drexel since the 1999-2000 campaign.
Holding Hofstra to only five field goals in the first half earlier this week, the Dragons established a double-digit lead at the break and eventually went on for the nine-point win thanks to Damion Lee who tallied 17 points and six rebounds, as he shook off 1-of-6 shooting behind the 3-point line. Frantz Massenat, the latest addition to the 1,000-point club at Drexel, tallied 16 points and Derrick Thomas 11, the latter hitting only 3-of-12 from the floor.
Massenat, who has scored in double figures in five straight outings, is leading the Dragons in scoring versus CAA opponents with his 15.3 ppg, although his mere 35.3 percent shooting from the floor is rather disappointing. Lee checks in with another 15.1 ppg, but he too has struggled from the floor against league foes as he shoots just 41.5 percent. Because of those two, the team as a whole is making just 40.1 percent, but at least it is still scoring more points (60.8 ppg) than it is giving up (59.1 ppg).
Delaware led by as many as 11 points in the second half against the Dukes last weekend, yet somehow the Blue Hens got their signals crossed during an inbounds play by JMU which resulted in a game-winning dunk with just one second remaining. Devon Saddler did all he could with 23 points and eight rebounds, although he was also tabbed for five turnovers. Kyle Anderson chipped in 16 points and Jarvis Threatt 12, while Jamelle Hagins cleared a team-best 11 rebounds.
Saddler, who is averaging 20.1 ppg in conference play, has now scored in double figures in 33 straight games, the second-longest active streak in the country and the fourth-longest in team history. Hagins, a beast on the glass for Delaware, needs just one more for the 1,000th of his career, which would make him one of only seven active Division I players to have reached that plateau. In conference play, Hagins is pulling down 8.0 rpg and putting up 10.6 ppg, all while accounting for 30 of the team's 57 blocked shots.
With a strong presence in the paint, even when the Blue Hens miss the mark there is someone like Hagins ready to clean up the mess and that will be a big help against Drexel.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Delaware 68, Drexel 61
02/21 10:30:46 ET