Drexel Heads to Delaware for Critical CAA Contest

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

If the season ended today, the Drexel Dragons would be the final team to qualify for CAA Tournament. Delaware, they’re currently tied for third-place in the league. Northeastern, the leader of the pack with a 13-3 CAA record, is likely to earn the lone first-round bye.

Drexel is only a game and a half up on William & Mary while UD is just a half-game out of second. Needless to say, things are tight in the CAA so every win is huge.

For Drexel, it’s the first of three straight road games before closing out the regular season at home against 5-10 UNC-Wilmington. Two of the four teams left on their schedule are below them in the standings, so for the Dragons, those two are must-win games. Drexel is actually better on the road (6-5) that at home (4-8), so it’s tough to tell which team will show up.

Tonight would be redemption for Drexel following their previous loss to Delaware, a 66-64 defeat in Philadelphia that spoiled a 30-point night from Damion Lee. Lee needed 21 shots to get his points, but the fifth-leading scorer in the CAA has cooled off, scoring in double-figures only three times in six games since then.

UD has been taking two steps forward and one step back all season long. They’ve had three three-game winning streaks in conference play as well as a three-game losing streak. They enter tonight having lost a heart-breaker last time out to James Madison, 72-71, thanks to an inbounds dunk with six-tenths of a second left.

Delaware features the leading-scorer in the conference in Devon Saddler, who is as multi-faceted as any player in the league. He averages 19.7 points, 2.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and one steal per game thanks to him being on the floor almost all game–he’s on the court  for 37.2 mpg, 15th in Division I. He spreads out his scoring as well–he’ll get to the rack, get to the free throw line and can hurt you from three-point range.

The Blue Hens are a much better rebounding team than Drexel and seeing how neither team shoots the ball particularly well (UD shoots 42.4%, Drexel 41.6%), rebounding will be key.

As both teams continue to jockey for position in the standings, Delaware head coach Monte Ross has the horses to win the rebounding battle, mainly Jamelle Hagins (10.1 rpg), giving the home team the edge in this one–so long as they have a short-term memory and forgot about the other night.

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