Wednesday, December 18, 2013

St. Joe's - Learning From Our Mistakes

Final:  St. Joe's 75, Drexel 55 at Hagan Arena
Player of the Game:  Tavon Allen
Key to the game:  Showing Up
Next Game:  Who cares, just make it soon  (Sun Dec 22 vs St. Francis @ the DAC)

I'll admit to being calmer now than I once was.  I'm older, I'm dating someone in the mental health field (insert your joke here), I've seen what real disaster is through my time with the Red Cross, I troubleshoot for a living, you can pick your reason, but I've got a cooler head these days then I once did as a younger Dragon fan.  So before you wig out about an embarrassing 20 point loss to the only city team that will play us, please note the below:

The Drexel Dragons are a very good basketball team.

They no showed today, they didn't get to the loose balls, they were embarrassed on the boards for the first half of the game and in everything else in the second half.  Had the Hawks had a good day from the line this game could have been a 30 point loss.  They didn't show up, and their own coach, a grown man, quit on them with six to play, talking to the scorers table before slouching on the bench for the remainder, and none of that was good.  Tavon Allen was the player of the game for Drexel, and deservedly so, but even most of his shots that fell tended to be preceded by the fans around me going "noooooooooooo" due to some atrocious shot selection.  When Drexel led, they were playing like crap, and when they trailed, they were playing even more like crap.  

In the first half, SJU was 1 of 7 from the line and turned the ball over 10 times in 31 possessions.  Drexel only led by 4 at the half.  There were warning signs everywhere, like what you see before you get to the 10 car pileup on I-76.  This wasn't a one half issue, it was a full game one.  Plenty of blame can be passed around, but isn't it easier to just all share in the blame together and then come back stronger?  We can do that because:

The Drexel Dragons are a very good basketball team.

I walked out of the arena and someone asked me what I was going to write about.  "Everybody gets one" was the answer, and I'm sticking to it.  These guys played well for 9 games, made us proud, made Drexel hoops relevant again after the debacle of last year.  Different contributors all around made it a success night in and night out.  I'm not forgetting all of that now and I urge you not to either.  These guys breathed life into this program and the only reason people might be overreacting to this loss is because of how much higher expectations were at this point of the season than they were at the end of last season.

The squad has earned a pass in my book, and I hope they have in yours.  Everyone gets one.  This was theirs.  If they don't roll through the next two home games and treat Southern Miss like the business trip that it is then get back to me.  But if we reach the 2014 conference schedule and this is just a bump in the road as I expect it to be, don't act surprised.  Don't act surprised because even after tonight, we know:

The Drexel Dragons are a very good basketball team.

This wasn't losing to Penn or Rider or Norfolk State or Tennessee State or Towson or... well you get the point.  Saint Joe's is a decent squad.  They aren't special, or even really great, but they aren't a dreg.  The amazing thing about tonight's game is that Drexel fulfilled their defensive key points.  Galloway and Roberts combined for all of 19 points.  As expected, the SJU bench contributed zero.  Drexel challenged the supporting cast to step up, and they did.  Some credit has to go to those guys.  I didn't think Halil and Bembry could shoot 19 for 24 combined from dunk in an open gym.  They answered the bell, and Bruiser never really had his guys go and exploit Kanacevic's foul trouble, something that this DU squad almost never does as a rule.  If Drexel plays this game 10 times, I still feel good about taking the majority of the matches.  

Unfortunately, we only get to play them once.  And so when you get to work or school or the coffee shop tomorrow and you talk to that guy or gal that you've been talking up DU hoops to this season, you may have some explaining to do.  Worse yet, some crow to eat or some trash talk to receive.  Just remember that everybody gets one, Saint Joe's just had theirs against Nova and this was ours, and don't forget to remind them at the end:

The Drexel Dragons are a very good basketball team.

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