CAA Top of the Ladder Week 3

1.  Northeastern University:

1st place, W-L: 14-8 (9-1) Last Week: 1-1

Hashtags: #Imperfect #Hunted #bounceback #homestretch #bottomfeeding

The Huskies suffered their first loss of the season on Wednesday night when R.J. Hunter and Georgia State came up to Boston. The Huskies had no answer for Hunter as he dropped 27 points on 10-18 shooting, including his 5-11 performance from behind the arc. Northeastern held a 10-point lead in the second half but could not finish the job, falling 78-73. Despite sophomore Quincy Ford’s poor shooting performance, fellow sophomore Demetrius Pollard continues to make the most of his playing time off the bench, scoring 15 points.

Northeastern rebounded on Saturday night on NBC Sports Network with a home victory over Drexel. Senior Jonathan Lee led the way for Northeastern with 17 points in the 59-52 win. Lee scored his 1,000th career point as the game was tied going into the break, after trading baskets and lead changes to start the second half, Northeastern was able to pull away with a 8-0 run and didn’t look back.

This week the Huskies play the CAA’s worst as they travel to Hofstra (2-7) on Wednesday and to Old Dominion (0-9) on Saturday. Translation: don’t expect a shakeup atop next week’s ladder.

2. Delaware University:

2nd place, W-L: 11-11 (6-3) Last Week: 3-0

Hashtags: #ladderjumper #onesanaccident #twoisacoincedence #threeisatrend

The Blue Hens began the week in Philadelphia with a 66-64 win against Drexel last Monday, which powered them to an undefeated week. Delaware led the Dragons by 15 with less than five minutes to play in the game. Drexel then went on a 9-0 run led by star guard Damion Lee scoring seven during the stretch. With Delaware leading 65-64 inside of a minute to play, the Blue Hens gave up multiple looks at a go-ahead shot but Drexel’s Franz Massenat could not get them to drop.

The Blue Hens brought this momentum home with them and beat William and Mary, 66-56, on Wednesday. Delaware dominated the glass pulling down 43 rebounds to the Tribe’s 31. Coupled with three Blue Hens scoring in double figures, William and Mary could not keep up. On Saturday, the dominance on the boards continued for Delaware as they outrebounded UNCW 41-29. Jamelle Hagins and junior Devon Saddler gave Delaware an inside-outside punch scoring 20 and 21 points respectively as the Blue Hens defeated UNCW 71-56.

This week Delaware will travel on the road and hope to continue build off this three game win-streak. They play at Towson (6-4) on Wednesday, who backed into the last spot on the ladder. Delaware closes the week with a Saturday afternoon game against George Mason (6-4).

3. James Madison University:

T-3rd place, W-L: 13-11 (7-4): Last Week: 2-1

Hashtags: #surprisesurprise #showmesomething #goinsplaces #D-fence

The Dukes had won four in a row until a loss to George Mason, 74-63, at home on Saturday. The loss also snapped a six-game home-winning streak for James Madison. The positive that came out of the loss was that senior Devon Moore scored a career high 25 points.

Led by their CAA-best scoring defense, allowing 56.7 points per game, the Dukes won their first two games this week against UNCW (63-56)and Old Dominion (56-46). Senior big man Rayshawn Goins has put the Dukes on his back as he has scored in double-digits in 13 of his last 15 contests.

This week JMU will host William and Mary (3-7) on Wednesday night. The Dukes finish up the week with a Sunday night game in Philadelphia to take on Drexel (5-5) with a chance to bury the Dragons outside the top five in the CAA

4. Georgia State University:

T-3rd place, W-L: 12-12 (7-4): Last Week: 2-0

Hashtags: #giantHunters #movinonup #stayingpower #ineligible

The Panthers continued their ascent on the ladder thanks in large part to freshman R.J. Hunter. Hunter led Georgia State into Mathews Arena in Boston and knocked off top-ranked Northeastern and scored 27 points along the way in a 78-73 victory.

Georgia State kept rolling on Saturday when it came home to pound last-place Old Dominion, 83-63, behind Hunter’s 38 points, on 10 3-pointer performance. Since they are leaving the CAA after this season the Panthers are not eligible to compete in the postseason. But one thing remains clear; the Panthers will be enjoying their role as the spoiler for the rest of the conference vying for the top spots come tourney time.

This week Georgia State travels to Wilmington to take on UNCW (3-6) on Wednesday. On Saturday the Panthers take on Towson (6-4) at home with the chance to continue the Tigers’ slide.

5. Towson University:

5th place, W-L: 11-12 (6-4), Last Week: 1-0

Hashtags: #slideover #easyweek  #backontrack?

Coming off a three game losing streak, the Tigers could not afford a poor showing this week, especially seeing how they were playing Old Dominion who is winless in CAA play.

Towson almost did not show up, narrowly escaping ODU with a 68-66 win. If it was not for Jerrelle Benimon’s 21-point, 17-rebound and five-block performance, Towson would have themselves looking up at George Mason and the other teams ahead of them on the ladder.

The Tigers have the chance to gain some ground back as they will play UNCW (3-6) tonight at home and host Delaware (6-3) on Wednesday night. Towson closes out the busy three-game week on the road at Georgia State (7-4). This week will go a long ways in determining if Towson has the staying power to go from a horrible 1-31 campaign last season to making waves atop the CAA in 2013.

***Note that George Mason is also 6-4 in conference and tied for fifth but had a 1-1 record this past week and was left off the ladder.