Player of the Game: The Forwards
Key to the game: Showing Up
Next Game: Who cares, just make it soon (Sun Dec 29 vs Buffalo @ the DAC)
When asked what I thought about this game right after it ended, only one word came to my mind: Boring. In 13 years or rockfight CAA basketball, I've never used that word to discuss a DU hoops game. In the second half of this game, a game in which they never had a less than 95% chance of winning according to Pomeroy's numbers, but also to my own thoughts, I started getting just as bored as many Drexel team members appeared to be. Going into Christmas and looking forward to getting home is an honest and relevant excuse for looking past an opponent that is one of the 50 worst teams in college basketball, but since this is the third straight game of playing fairly mediocre to poor basketball there should probably be some alarm bells going off in the locker room, regardless of whose bags may have been packed for the holidays.
There are two urgent problems that Coach Flint and his staff have the holidays to devise a plan to solve (no comments on that, please):
Scoring. If you're not going to pass the ball to the big men (more on that later), then all three of the guards better be able to fill the basket. It's becoming increasingly clear that only two Drexel guards can do that with regularity. That means there's one scorer whenever Fouch or Frantz head to the bench and it's extremely hard to be successful like that. Tavon Allen has shown some signs of maturing the last few games, but even with slight improvement we still see him go 2/9 and not get to the line against a team that he would be the tallest member of. Add to that him having just 4 rebounds in 34 minutes and it's clear that he's still not using what God gave him. Freddie Wilson is clearly still adjusting a bit and can't be relied on at this point, and so if Drexel wants to have a third scorer that they can rely on, maybe it's time to use the bigs. And now we come to the second problem:
"My coaches keep telling me to throw it to them [the bigs], so we threw it to them today, saw what we got" ~B Flint
First everyone just take a breath and get beyond the fact that Bru's assistants needed to tell him this. Pardon me while I pick the exploded pieces of my brain off the floor.
OK, everyone good again? After hearing the wisdom of his coaches and looking at tape on Saint Francis, Coach Flint elected to feed the bigs this game. Our friends at Philahoops noted this quote from Rodney Williams:
"“We saw that St. Francis’ size wasn’t as big as what we had, so Coach devised a plan that forced us to duck hard around the basket,”
All is right in the world. SFU was clearly a team ripe for getting beaten in the paint, Bru had come around to the idea of feeding the paint and our guards would finally get a chance to get some confidence in their bigs in the paint. Here's how that worked out for the BWAR team of bigmen.
10/15 fg's, 23 points, a 92% defensive rebound percentage and only one (1) turnover. They did not miss a field goal until 16+ minutes into the game. On their 5 field goal misses, they got offensive rebounds and scored on 2 of them. Only 3 of the 15 times that the bigs shot from the field did they not get points, the other 80% of the time they scored. 80 percent! 80 percent! BWAR was 1 turnover and a few freethrows away from a perfect game. It was complete domination.
Why then was my joy less than full? It's because on a day where the bigs dominated, where Chris Fouch was hitting his shots, where Tavon Allen had 6 of the easiest assists of his life (a career high) and where even James Flint was telling his team to feed the bigs, Frantz Massenat had one assist. Had someone from the crowd come down, had the ball inbounded to them, dribbled the ball uncontested to the frontcourt and thrown three lobs into the paint, they probably would have had more assists than Drexel's All-CAA Point Guard. I didn't know it was possible for a point guard to have only 1 assist when the rest of his team shoots almost 50% (18 of 37) from the field. This is back to back awful game for Frantz and while everybody gets 1, he's passed that now and there's no real excuse for him having a dog of a game against Saint Francis.
I think Drexel has found it's third scorer, and I think thou name is BWAR (still taking ideas for better nicknames for this frontcourt. Feel free to add Goran, please post in the comments section). Maybe Bru has even figured it out, but I won't let him off the hook here either. If you're telling people to get the ball inside, and your pg has taken 11 field goals and your entire front court only 15, when one is hitting 36% and the other 80%? Do something about it coach, don't just watch your pg continue to take jump shots.
It was a win in a spot where Drexel needed a get the job done win. No one is complaining about the outcome. But now that it's break, there are still things worth thinking about. The great news is, this team has so much talent that these things are easily fixable if the coaching staff can steer the ship in the right direction. Against Buffalo they'll have a chance to prove that they are doing just that.
Have a Merry Christmas everyone, travel safe and I wish you and your families and all Drexel fans the best. I'll be back here with a look back on the first 11 games by the end of the week, and what we've learned, and then have a preview up for the Buffalo game by Saturday night, so feel free to check back. Best wishes and see you at the DAC.
Edit: I'm not going to edit the article as the principle stays the same, but I've realized that when doing the math above my brain was a bit fried. Since the bigs scored the two putbacks out of their misses, they still scored only 10 buckets, not 12. However, they essentially only had 13 possessions, so it's 10/13, not 12/15 from the floor. The end result is a 77% shooting percentage. I don't think that difference is particularly material as both percentages could be loosely defined as "excellent" hence the lack of edit.