George Mason won a tough game on the road last night at Drexel and stayed in contention for the second seed in the CAA Tournament while pushing the Dragons to below .500 in conference play.

The teams battled back and forth in a game that saw Drexel cling to a lead throughout a majority of the first half and deep into the second. Mason’s Corey Edwards hit the go-ahead 3-pointer that gave the Patriots the lead with 1:57 remaining.

The Patriots had four scorers in double figures as southpaw Vertrail Vaughns led the way with 14 points. Vaughns was coming off a game 0-point game against Delaware, and made multiple 3-pointers in a game for just the third time this season.

Erik Copes also had 12 points to go along with eight rebounds as Sherrod Wright and Corey Edwards had 11 points and 10 points, respectively.

For the Patriots, the game was won on the glass, as they held a 37-28 advantage on the boards, which also points to the shooting advantage they held over the Dragons. Drexel tried to play the lockdown defense we’ve all come to know, and despite slowing the tempo and scoring during the first half, Mason was able to handle the pressure well, and shot 47.8% from the field for the game.

Mason also mightily outscored Drexel’s ever-shrinking bench 21-7, and got even production across the board. Drexel (surprisingly) limited freshman Tavon Allen to just nine minutes in the game, as each Drexel starter played 30+ minutes.

Things weren’t all bad for the Dragons. While they wish they had a healthy roster, and are without a doubt missing Chris Fouch (who applied for a sixth year of eligibility this week) they got great production from key players. Derrick Thomas scored in double figures yet again by co-leading the Dragons in scoring with 16 points (along with Damion Lee). Frantz Massenat had 13 points and zero turnovers, but big man Daryl McCoy managed only three points to go along with his game-high 12 rebounds.

The Patriots’ win improves their record to 15-10, and 8-5 in the CAA, while Drexel drops to 10-15, and 6-7 in the league.

***

Monte Ross and Bill Coen both learned a lot about their teams on Wednesday night.

Obviously, you want your team to win every game, but Bill Coen certainly didn’t walk away from Wednesday night’s loss feeling discouraged. The Huskies played without co-captain and leading scorer Joel Smith.

They also played the final 10+ minutes without one of their leading rebounders Reggie Spencer, and lost its only other legitimate post player, Dinko Marshavelski to (another) injury.

It actually seemed like Northeastern was primed to take control in overtime. The Huskies had the ball and a five-point lead with under two minutes remaining. The Blue Hens got a fast break dunk from Jamelle Hagins, and Jarvis Threatt hit a go-ahead 3-point bomb with 10 seconds left to give the Blue Hens the 76-74 victory.

Aside from double-digit losses at Towson and James Madison, Delaware has played well on the road in CAA play. The Blue Hens picked up their fifth conference road win of the year, and won for the sixth time in seven games. Coach Ross has harped on the fact that playing on the big stage at Madison Square Garden in the Preseason NIT has rendered his team unfazed on an opponents’ court.

We knew going in that Northeastern would struggle to hang with Delaware on the glass, the Blue Hens held a 44-28 advantage for points in the paint, and a 15-8 lead in second-chance points. Even without Smith, the Huskies still managed to hold a 19-8 advantage in points off turnovers.

Devon Saddler failed to eclipse 20 points for the first time in four games, but he’s still netted 18+ in Delaware’s last six games. Hagins tallied 17 points and game-highs with nine boards and four blocks. Threatt got to the line (as always) and shot 8-of-10 from the stripe, en route to a team-high 20 points. Delaware shot 48.3% for the game.

As a result of Smith’s absence, Jon Lee played all 45 minutes and scored a game-high 23 points. Quincy Ford also dropped 21 points. Unfortunately, the Huskies didn’t have anyone else score more than eight points.

Demetrius Pollard had only played 20+ minutes seven times this year, but he played a career-high 41 minutes on Wednesday, and set a career-high with five steals. Zach Stahl continues to work his way back from injury, and looked solid in his 24 minutes of play. Marshavelski only played four minutes (he may have re-aggravated a prior injury) but scored his first bucket in five games (two of which he missed while injured).

Delaware’s win temporarily delayed Northeastern from clinching a share of the regular season championship. At 12-2 in league play, the Huskies still hold a 2.5-game lead over the Blue Hens. Still, with mounting injuries and improving teams below them in the standings, the Huskies cannot afford to become complacent.

***

The William and Mary Thorntons faced the UNC-Wilmington Rendlemans Wednesday night in a game that turned out to be far more interesting than it appeared to be at first glance. On the surface, it was the matchup of two CAA bottom-feeders, but the game revealed a great deal about both teams.

When the Tribe can shoot, watch out. The Tribe, led by a spectacular performance from junior guard Brandon Britt, shot the lights out of Kaplan Arena (the ones that still work, anyway). The College scored 92 points – its highest total of the season – and shot nearly 61% from the field for the game.

Marcus Thornton led all scorers with 25 and scored the Tribe’s last nine points of the contest. Britt helped the Tribe build a huge lead, and finished with 22 points. Eight players scored for the College, an impressive showing for a group that has lacked depth.

The Tribe operated in fits and starts. With about 10 minutes left in the first half, UNCW’s Chris Dixon tied the game with a three. From there, the Brandon Britt Show took over the Kap, and five minutes later, the College had opened up an 11-point lead. They shot 55.6% in the first half, largely due to Britt.

They started off well after the break, but completely faltered down the stretch, turning the ball over, and allowing Wilmington to climb back in the game with a barrage of threes.

The Dubmen put up a lion-hearted fight. The ‘Hawks were down by as many as 25 with a little over 11 minutes remaining in the game, and came storming back. The shooters suddenly woke up, the Tribe defense was caught off guard, and Dixon and Tanner Milson started hitting three after three.

Milson has an endearingly weird stroke. He puts a lot of air under the ball. I kept thinking the ball was going to hit the ceiling every time he released it, but it ended up going in. This is, after all, the land of David Schneider, so we’re used to unorthodox shooting motions in the ‘Burg.

The Seahawks managed to cut the College’s lead to three with 1:40 remaining, and everyone in the building was preparing themselves for the worst. Instead, Thornton took over and closed the Seahawks out.

Keith Rendleman was good down the stretch, but too quiet at parts. Coach Peterson has stressed that he needs to give Rendleman as many breaks as he can afford, but Rendleman played the entire 40 minutes. That’s a lot to expect, even if he is the best player.

You already know what I’m going to write here, so we’ll keep it short. For the Tribe, it’s going to come down to defense and late-game composure. This team has as much talent as anybody, but if they can’t learn to get crucial stops to close out the game, it’s going to a short tournament for the Tribe. Maybe Thornton can be that guy – the one who puts the game on ice – as he did against UNCW. Only time will tell.

***

Hofstra’s defense held Georgia State to a season-low 50 points on January 7th. Georgia State provided the suffocating defense on Wednesday night, and held Hofstra under 30% from the field along the way in its 61-43 win over the Pride.

Georgia State overcame a career night from Stevie Mejia, who finished with game-highs of 18 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. Unfortunately, Mejia’s five field goals were almost half of Hofstra’s total (12). His 18 points were three times as many as Hofstra’s second-leading scorer of the night (Jordan Allen with six).

Taran Buie’s recent slump continued, as he tied a season-low with two points. After scoring in double figures in 16 of his first 18 games, Buie has failed to do so in three of the Pride’s last five games. He’s shot 13-of-57 (22.8%) over that span.

Trailing 10-4 in the first half, the Panthers scored 16 unanswered to take a double-digit lead. Georgia State turned 22 Hofstra turnovers into 31 points. The Panthers had 14 steals, and forced Mejia, Buie and Stephen Nwaukoni into 5+ turnovers each. Manny Atkins had team-highs of 13 points and nine rebounds.

It was not a strong offensive game for Georgia State by any means. The Panthers shot 40.8% from the field, and that includes surprising sparks from James Vincent and David Travers, who combined to shoot 8-of-9 from the floor. Vincent and Travers scored 11 and eight points, respectively. The rest of the team shot 30%.

‘Oak’ Vincent had been a bit dormant in CAA play (offensively, at least), but he’s averaged 8.3 points, 7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks over Georgia State’s last three games. He’s averaging a CAA-best 2.5 blocks per game.

On a night when the Panthers were outrebounded by 10 and still won by 18, Coach Ron Hunter summed the game up beautifully:

“There’s no such thing as an ugly win.”

2 Responses to ““No such thing as an ugly win.””

  1. “No such thing as an ugly win.” | CAAZone.com Says:

    [...] Click here to read the full article from CAA Hoops [...]

  2. Panther News & Notes -- 2.16.2013 | Panther Talk Says:

    [...] at the next level, but Coach Ron Hunter is encouraged about the future of the program. The Panthers won ugly against Hofstra and fell in overtime to Towson this [...]

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