Player of the Game: Frantz Massenat, Chris Fouch, Dartaye Ruffin, Goran Pantovic, Stevan Manojlovic, Jake Lerner
Key to the Game: Doing Your Job
Next Game: Saturday, March 1 @ Northeastern University
In their last game of February, the Drexel Dragons played their most complete game of the season. While some will point to their performances at Madison Square Garden as their best efforts of the year, this game should be remembered for the well rounded-ness of the team. This is juke-ing the stats, something I don't love doing, but if we ignore the first three Dragon possessions, in which an unusual roster was playing while their adrenaline was way past red-lining, the numbers look as follows:
Offense: 1.10 points scored per possession
Defense: 0.88 points allowed per possession
Ladies and gentleman, that's the Bruiser Flint model. If he could get that every game, he'd live as a happy man.
It's also the seventh straight game that the defense has held strong, and given the lack of offensive participation from the two and three guards shows that injuries or not, there is still offensive depth on this team. Credit to goes to Bruiser Flint, who recoginzed Tavon Allen struggling, and even after Tavon's brilliant game against Delaware felt comfortable giving him the hook and throwing Major Canady out on the floor for the majority of the contest. After seeing just 18% of the shots in the game at Charleston, the Drexel forwards took 28% of the teams shots this game, shooting 61% (75% from the line) while doing it and contributing 19 of the teams 56 points. The bigs also had 4 blocks, 1 steal and nary a turnover between the three of them. After being a bit soft in the first half, they won the battle on the boards in the second while playing against a front line that went 7'2", 6'9", 6'7". It was a very impressive effort, and a good job of getting involved at both ends of the court.
Speaking of getting involved, in just 4 defensive possessions, Stevan Manojlovic and Goran Pantovic had 1 steal, 2 blocks and a defensive rebound. They were on the floor for 4 possessions and in 3 of the 4 the Cougars starting 5 couldn't even get a shot off! That's insane! Chris Fouch may have struggled on the offensive end (1-7 from 3, now 4-25 (17%) in his last 5 games, easily the biggest DU concern coming out of this game) but he still made his contribution to the team to the tune of 4 steals (!!) and 100% free throw shooting. On top of that, he had 5 points after the under four timeout in the second half, just as we all knew he would, saving his best for last. Also of note, with a minute to go, upon inbounding to Massenat, Frantz quickly got the ball to Chris. Someone got the message, and at end of game it looks like the coaches are making an effort to have Chris be the guy who gets put on the line. Good work there by the staff.
At the end of the game, the player holding the ball for the Dragons was Jake Lerner, the one senior who didn't get a chance to start, a great ending to a great team effort.
Yes, there are concerns, Chris' shooting, the continued inconsistency and I for one think that one coach here may have been playing chess while the other played checkers. There's a very good chance that these two teams play each other in a week and a half when it really matters, and Doug Wojcik seemed to hold his team back in this one. Baru and Hall both played for less minutes then they have for most of the season, the end game fouling was less then aggressive, and a bench that doesn't usually get a ton of use past Canyon Barry played almost 70 minutes despite a complete lack of foul trouble. These things make you wonder. But it was senior night for an outstanding, talented and classy bunch that represented Drexel and its faculty, staff, alumni, students and fans as well as any of them could ask for, and those guys went off in the way they should.
My favorite part? Long time CAA referee Dwayne Gladden was hustling Frantz Massenat off the court with seconds left on the clock and Frantz reeiving a much deserved ovation, and Frantz just turned to Gladden and said "it's my last game". Frantz dictated his departure much like he's dictated four years of Drexel offense, and left the court on his terms, and no one elses. These guys as a group, they just get it, and that's why all this is fun for you and me. I for one am thankful.
I need to link you all to http://dragonshistory.weebly.com/ (also on the "Link DH Relies On" tab on your right), the record book I used for player stats yesterday. It also shows me that Dartaye Ruffin, someone I've barely mentioned here that had a huge impact in this game, had a great night and also tied Chaz Crawford for 7th all time on the Drexel rebounds list.
Lastly, if you know what college basketball is all about, and if you appreciate this blog I guess you do, then thank the PhilaHoops Guys for capturing the postgame presser. Take the 10 minutes, watch it. You'll thank yourself later.