For years, the Colonial Athletic Association has been known as a defensive-minded conference producing games where both teams don't often escape the 60s. The term "rock fight" has been synonymous with this conference for decades, but no longer.
On Monday at 7 p.m., No. 1 Delaware and No. 3 William & Mary, who ranked second and first, respectively, in the CAA in offense and 55th and 39th in the nation in terms of adjusted offensive efficiency this season, per KenPom.com, will battle for the Colonial's automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament.
Delaware advanced to the final night of the 2014 CAA Tournament with an 87-74 win over the No. 5 Northeastern Huskies. The Blue Hens found themselves nursing just a 2-point lead over Northeastern at the half. The Huskies built a 5-point lead with 5:53 left in the first half despite Delaware's 10-0 start, but the Hens closed the half on a 13-6 run from that point. Delaware carried that momentum into the second frame, outscoring the Huskies by 11 points over the game's final 20 minutes thanks to a well-rounded offensive attack. All five of the Blue Hens starters were in double figures as Davon Usher scored a game-high 21 points. In the loss, Northeastern received big games from their front court as junior forwards Scott Eatherton and Reggie Spencer combined to post 38 points and 16 rebounds.
With the night's second game, a battle between William & Mary and No. 2 Towson, tied at halftime it looked as if neither team would be able to break away from the other. Neither team could gain much advantage, as there were 10 ties and 8 lead changes in the first half. William & Mary controlled throughout the second half, but still wound up holding on to a slim 71-70 with just 2:40 left to play. That's when the Tribe put the ball in the hands of junior guard Marcus Thornton, who had a game-high 21. Thornton drilled a jumper with 2:24 left and then sunk two free throws in the game's final seconds to seal the deal for Tony Shaver's club. Two-time reigning CAA Player of the Year Jerrelle Benimon posted 18 points and 5 boards for the Tigers in his last collegiate game.
It certainly isn't the norm for the CAA, but this game on Monday might break into the 100s.