Before the season began Drexel and Delaware were pegged by many as the teams to beat in the Colonial Athletic Association. The season hasn’t played out as expected for either team, with injuries and inconsistency having an impact on both the Dragons and the Blue Hens.
The two teams met on Thursday night with Delaware holding off Drexel 73-71 in double overtime at the Bob Carpenter Center, and the finish is one that Drexel fans won’t soon forget.
A Frantz Massenat runner in the final seconds of double overtime was blocked by Delaware’s Jamelle Hagins, and it certainly looked as if the officials missed a goaltending violation. With no call being made Drexel drops to 11-16 overall and 7-8 in CAA play, while Delaware (15-13, 10-5) remains two games behind first-place Northeastern.
Devon Saddler led the way for Delaware with a game-high 31 points and Hagins finished with 14 points, 18 rebounds and one controversial blocked shot.
Damion Lee (22 points, 11 rebounds), Massenat (20 points) and Derrick Thomas (19) attempted 59 of Drexel’s 72 shots from the field, something that has to happen if the Dragons are to have a shot given the fact that Chris Fouch was lost early this season after fracturing his ankle.
With just seven teams eligible for the conference tournament Delaware’s win keeps them a game ahead of James Madison (10-6) in the loss column in the race for the two-seed.
Towson and UNCW are ineligible for APR reasons; Georgia State and Old Dominion are ineligible due to a league bylaw that bans schools leaving for another conference from winning the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
As for Drexel they’re now two games behind George Mason in the race for what would be the four-seed, and the loss likely ends the possibility of them making a run at the three-seed.
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Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.
On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.
One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.
As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).
And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.
While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.
And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.
St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.
Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.
St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.
The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?