While it is just January 19 and there is still over a month left in Colonial Athletic Association conference play, every win in a competitive conference full of parity is crucial. Thus, when two of the league’s most talented and successful teams met in Newark, Del. on Saturday, both the Northeastern Huskies and Delaware Blue Hens knew the implications of winning a tough contest against a tough conference foe.
While Northeastern entered the contest with sole possession of the first place in the CAA, Delaware had just enough standing in the conference to earn a crucial victory in the quest for the No. 1 seed in the CAA Tournament.
But, unfortunately, Delaware’s lead man, Devon Saddler, was overshadowed by Northeastern’s slew of talented guards. Saddler, who’s been a leading candidate for CAA Player of the Year, scored just 10 points, dished just three assists and grabbed just two rebounds. On the season, Saddler is averaging 20.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
The Huskies’ guards, on the other hand, completely shined as a collective unit. Northeastern’s four starting wing players, Joel Smith, Jonathan Lee, Quincy Ford and David Walker, all combined for an incredible stat line of 59 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists.
Overall, head coach Bill Coen’s team ran an offense full of beautiful motion and excellent ball movement that got all five players on the court involved in the action. Meanwhile, the Blue Hens resulted to many one-on-one sets, mostly with Saddler and sophomore Jarvis Threatt dominating the basketball.
Northeastern’s three-point shooting also set them apart from Delaware in this game. From beyond the arc, the Huskies shot an incredible 10-15 (66.7 percent). They entered halftime having knocked down seven of their nine attempts.
Northeastern (11-7, 6-0) has now won four of their six conference games on the road, all of which have been in convincing fashion. Following the team’s victory over Hofstra on Wednesday, Coen refused to admit the Huskies are the team to beat in the CAA. However, now that they’ve knocked off George Mason, Drexel, Towson and Delaware on the road, Northeastern has clearly become the favorite in this conference.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Columnist for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @JakeLFischer.