Frantz Massenat, Austin Ramljak

Delaware’s double overtime win over Drexel features controversial finish (VIDEO)

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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.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.

LSU looking into starting lineup options

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - MARCH 7:  Head Coach Johnny Jones of the LSU Tigers watches his team play during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on March 7, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 81-78.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.

While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.

Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?

Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.

Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.