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Colonial Notebook

February 11, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Colonial Notebook

by Beth Iskoe

After weeks of congestion atop the conference, some teams are finally
beginning to pull away from the pack. Here is a look at how each of the top
six teams have managed to either keep themselves in or knocked themselves
out of the conference race.

UNC Wilmington (15-5, 9-2)

The Seahawks have now firmly established themselves as the team to beat,
having won eight of their past nine contests. Even more impressive, their
last seven wins have been by an average of 19.3 points. Their leading
scorer, senior guard Brett Blizzard, has been on fire as of late, as he has
scored at least twenty points in each of the last six games. Blizzard is
also rapidly climbing up the CAA all-time charts. He is now the all-time
leader in career three-pointers. Blizzard’s four three-pointers in UNC
Wilmington’s 71-53 victory over Delaware Saturday night give him 330 for his
career, surpassing the old mark of 328 set by Old Dominion’s Mark Poag.
Blizzard is also currently fourth in career steals with 225.

Drexel (13-8, 8-4)

After starting their conference season slow by losing two of their first
four games, the Dragons have rebounded to win six out of their next eight
contests. They are now in a tie for second place with Virginia Commonwealth,
whom they beat 74-73 on the road back on January 11. Drexel will host the
rematch Wednesday night at 7 p.m. This season, senior center Robert Battle
has been as dominating as ever. He is averaging 14.7 points and 8.4 rebounds
per game. Additionally, his 3.8 blocks per game ranks him fifth in Division
I. Battle has 206 career blocks, and needs only two more to move into second
place on Drexel’s all-time list.

Virginia Commonwealth (13-7, 8-4)

Since receiving an 81-50 whoopin’ at the hands of UNC Wilmington back on
January 25, the Rams have posted four straight wins. Their most impressive
and important victory was a 78-62 win over George Mason at home Saturday
night. The victory placed them into a second-place tie with Drexel. Virginia
Commonwealth may have the frontrunner for CAA rookie of the year. Freshman
forward Nick George has been a solid contributor, as he has put up 8.8
points and 7.2 rebounds per game. He has earned CAA rookie of the week
honors three times this season.

George Mason (12-9, 7-5)

Last Wednesday night, the Patriots took a step forward when they knocked off
Delaware on the road by a 71-63 margin. However, they took a step backward
Saturday night when they fell 78-62 to host Virginia Commonwealth. The loss
dropped George Mason all the way down to fourth place in the conference. The
Patriots had won four in a row prior to the loss. George Mason has been kept
in the conference title race this season by virtue of two main players.
Junior guard Mark Davis, the team’s leading scorer, is averaging 17.2 points
per game and was named CAA player of the week last week. Senior forward
Jesse Young has been steady all season, contributing 12.2 points and 7.6
rebounds per contest.

Delaware (11-10, 6-6)

The Blue Hens have gone into a major slide, having lost five of their last
seven contests. Their two losses this past week to George Mason and UNC
Wilmington have been especially hurtful, as Delaware is now getting ever
closer to the dreaded bottom four of the conference. Should they finish in
the bottom four, the Blue Hens would have to play an extra game in the CAA
Tournament. The 18-point loss to UNC Wilmington was the largest defeat
Delaware has suffered since they joined the CAA last season. That loss was
also one of their worst defeats of the season, matching the 77-59 thrashing
at the hands of St. Joseph’s on Dec. 9.

Old Dominion (9-11, 6-6)

The Monarchs are also free-falling, as they have lost three straight games
and five of their last eight match-ups. They missed a chance to pull ahead
of Delaware in the standings when they fell 74-66 at home to James Madison
Saturday night. Old Dominion only has two players that are averaging in
double figures. Senior forward Ricardo Marsh is having a monster season,
averaging 18.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest. In addition, senior
forward Rasheed Wright has played a major role, as he has contributed 15.2
points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Three more squads who got off to poor starts have now positioned themselves
to move out of the bottom four. Here is a look at these teams.

William and Mary (10-10, 5-6)

After dropping five of their first seven contests and being at the bottom of
the CAA standings, the Tribe have come on strong as of late and are
currently on a three-game winning streak. Were it not for senior guard Adam
Hess, William and Mary may not have won a conference game all season. Hess
leads the team in almost every major statistical category, most notably
points (21.1), rebounds (6.6), field goal percentage (.493), and minutes
(36.3).

James Madison (9-13, 5-7)

The Dukes have been consistent all season, having never won or lost more
than three games in a row. They are currently coming off of a big 74-66 home
victory over Old Dominion Saturday night. This season, two seniors have
carried the James Madison squad. Senior guard David Fanning is leading the
team in scoring with a 16.1 points per game average, while senior center Ian
Caskill has been dominating on the glass. He pulls down 7.1 rebounds to go
along with 10.9 points per contest.

Hofstra (5-16, 4-8)

While the Pride have only won one non-conference game, they have fared
relatively better in the conference, winning four out of twelve games.
However, they are currently on a three game slide, having dropped
consecutive decisions to James Madison, Drexel and William and Mary. They
will have a chance to rebound Thursday night when they travel to George
Mason to take on the Patriots. The loss to William and Mary Saturday night
was especially hard to accept because Hofstra held an early 22-8 advantage.
With the victory, the Pride would have been tied for seventh in the
conference instead of the ninth place position they currently hold.
And finally in the tenth position is Towson. They have virtually no chance
to move out of the cellar.

Towson (4-17, 1-11)

This has been an overall season to forget for the Tigers. With last place
all but secured, Towson’s only hope is to pull off an upset somewhere in the
CAA tournament to salvage at least a little bit of their dismal season. The
Tigers dropped their first four conference games, managed a 61-54 home
victory over Hofstra January 15 and then responded by losing their next
seven contests. Towson’s two lone bright spots have been Jamaal Gilchrist, a
transfer from Texas A&M and freshman forward Lawrence Hamm. Gilchrist’s
11.5 points per game make him the only Tiger to average double figures.
Hamm has been named CAA rookie of the week three times. Hamm is Towson’s
leading rebounder at 5.9 per game and is the team’s second leading scorer
with 8.8 points per contest.

     

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