Final: Drexel 75, Tennessee St 61 @ The DAC (no overtimes!)
Player of the Game: Frantz Massenat
Key to the game: Happy Learned to Shoot
Next Game: Sun, Dec 15 @ Davidson University
In a business trip of a homegame, the Dragons showed up and cleaned up the garbage. With all apologies to Tennessee State, they're a team that good teams need to be able to walk over without an electrifying performance at home, and that's what Drexel did. With the possible exception of Tavon Allen, everyone from the Dragons had a good game and no one had a great one.
The blogs player of the game, Frantz Massent put up an efficient 21 point and 6 assist line to earn him the honor, but even that line isn't as good as it looks when you realize that he was a primary defender of the Tigers Patrick Miller who put up 21 points himself. Miller and MJ Rhett played a mean 1-2 game for periods of the second half, seeming to score at will at times. Even during those periods the Dragons were in control of this one from cover to cover.
Ken Pomeroy's in game win probability, which accounts for the current score and time remaining along with how it ranked the teams coming into the game shows that the Dragons were never less than a 93.8% shot to win this game. As long as they took care of business it didn't much matter with what TSU threw at them, TSU brought a knife to a gunfight. The encouraging thing for Drexel fans should be the way that DU brought this home. For the second straight game they were a dominant force on the boards, evidenced by having more offensive boards than the Tigers had total rebounds in the first half. The Dragons continued to show care with the ball, while they turned it over 5 times in the first half, they responded with only 2 in the second half to secure the game.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign was the shooting. The home side hit 58% from inside the arc and 38% from outside. The 38% is by no means lighting the world on fire, but from a team that has really struggled from deep this year, it was a chance to see the ball go through the net a bit and get some confidence back. When this team is right, they'll be averaging 35% or so from 3, in the prior three contest the Dragons had averaged 21%. This was an opportunity to get right while at home, and seeing Chris Fouch shoot 36% from 3 may not blow anyones doors off, but it's a start towards getting right as we enter into exam week when the team will get a few days off and the challenges both in the classroom and the locker room will be mental and not physical.
Going off of the Caazone.com boards, it's known that the elephant in the room is Tavon Allen. While While discussing adjustments the Dragons needed to make for the new rule changes, going into the Arizona game, it was mentioned that Tavon's early shooting was probably more fluke then predictive. It shows the difference between reading a stat sheet and watching the game, and why the best coaches use both. Tavon's shot selection issues are highlighted even more since he is now taking a shocking 31.8% of the Dragons shots when he is on the floor, which is the 64th highest rate in the country. It's a rate expected to be seen from only the stars of the game. Chris Fouch is actually shooting even more often, shooting 32.7% of the shots taken when he is on the floor, but the shot selection is vastly different, and reflected in their shooting numbers. Even with Chris not having his stroke from distance going strong early in the year, he's still been a net positive this year when shooting the rock since he's done so well from inside the arc (a Drexel guard leading 51%). Fouch has also gotten to the line 24% more often then Allen has.
Someone asked me if Tavon was going to be this years Derrick Thomas for me, a player that I thought Flint & Co gave too much court time to and didn't have the offensive skills to back it up. I 100% disagree with this assessment, because Tavon has the skills. With the welcoming of Freddie Wilson, Bru now has three options: Let Tavon keep doing what he's been doing, tell him that he's a big boy and he needs to take some contact and stop shooting jumpers or head to the bench, or tell him to be more selective and pass more and see the bench. Either of the second two seem to make the Dragons a much better team, so look intently over the next few games and see what direction the staff chooses to go in.
In the upcoming week we'll have daily posts while they're knocking down those exams. The next couple of days will have some breakdowns on the team to date and going forward before a mailbag Thursday and the Davidson preview on Friday. Please throw me questions for the mailbag at DragonsSpeaks@gmail.com, and have some fun with it. I'll try to research and tackle anything that gets submitted with enough leadtime to properly research while I duck in and out of Christmas parties all week.
Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season, and a 6-2 Drexel start.