As the Colonial Athletic Association migrates towards the end of the regular season, the battles for playoff seeding have really started to heat up. The Northeastern Huskies have lost two-straight games and now must win two of their last three games in order to clinch the outright regular season conference title and the 1-seed in the CAA Tournament. Following the Huskies, any team could really end up in the 2 or 6 seed before Hofstra in the 7-seed. With that, certain players really stepped up last week to help their team’s efforts down the stretch.
As the William & Mary Tribe look to potentially steal the 5-seed down in Richmond from the Drexel Dragons, sophomore guard Marcus Thornton has truly picked up his play as of late. Already one of the Association’s leading scorers, Thornton posted 23.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game as W&M went 2-1. More impressively, the Maryland product made 14-28 attempts from three-point land and 20-22 attempts from the charity stripe. That’s pretty dang efficient. For his efforts, Thornton was awarded Co-CAA Player of the Week and the Tribe are just 1.5 games behind the Dragons in the conference standings.
As the James Madison Dukes have put together their last fight for the conference title and top seed in the tourney, freshman guard Andre Nation has really produced as well. Averaging 8.9 points per game on the season, Nation scored 14 points on 5-5 shooting in JMU’s win over Towson and he even scored the game-winning bucket on an inbounds lob with 0.6 seconds left against the Delaware Blue Hens. With that incredible week, Nation was awarded this week’s CAA Rookie of the Week, and deservedly so.
Lastly, although his team is not eligible for the CAA Tournament, Keith Rendleman was absolutely dynamic for the UNCW Seahawks last week. He earned Co-CAA Player of the Week, along with Thornton, after averaging 23.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.0 blocks in UNCW’s 1-1 week on an incredible 68 percent shooting the floor (17-25). With Rendleman fighting for every possible CAA and UNCW record he can grasp, watch out for the Hawks down the stretch.