Final: JMU 63, Drexel 61
Player of the Game: Dartaye Ruffin
Key to the Game: Adjustments
Next Game: Sunday Feb 23 at Delaware (Sucks)
14-12 (6-7 conference) Kenpom 144, RPI 119
Fouch Sr (6th year)
Allen So (redshirt)
15-14 (10-8 conference) Kenpom 128, RPI 133
Those two rosters have put up identical seasons. The difference in talent may be stunning, but the results, near identical. In the postgame, Bruiser called out this team for not playing tough enough. In response, I offer this:
Drexel guards first half: 4/20 (20%) FG, 4-4 (100%) FT
Drexel forwards, first half: 3/6 (50%) FG, 5-5 (100%) FT
Percentage of Shots taken by guards: 77%
Drexel guards second half: 5/20 (25%) FG, 10-12 (83%) FT
Drexel forwards second half: 3/4 (75%) FG, 1-2 FT (50%)
Percentage of shots taken by guards: 83%
Drexel guards overtime: 2/6 (33%) FG, 1-2 (50%) FT
Drexel forwards overtime: 0/0 FG, 0/0 FT
Percentage of shots taken by guards: 100%
Semenov and Nation first half: 0/9 FG (0%) 2-4 FT (50%)
Semenov and Nation second half: 2/2 FG (100%) 3-4 FT (75%)
Semeov and Nation overtime: 0/0 FG, 2/2 (100%) FT
Chris Fouch and Frantz Massenat had 7 of their 32 attempts, a stunning 22% of their shots blocked. They were overplaying the hell out of those two guys, and for one play last night, the play that took this game to overtime, Bruiser Flint recognized that, got a pass to a wide open big man in one of the prettiest plays in recent memory. For the rest of the game, it was as if no one noticed JMU's defense. It doesn't seem right to blame that on the players toughness, does it?
On the other side of the scorers table, Matt Brady's two studs were having an awful game. Bruiser came down with a game plan of making the JMU players shoot the ball well in order to win. Giving the players space on the perimeter to take a look if they wanted to. It was a solid gameplan. Actually, the offensive gameplan was solid too, and I even mentioned it in the pregame here. No one on JMU (and it now appears that Charles Cooke may be an exception) can guard Frantz or Chris, so let the DU studs do what they do. It was a solid gameplan on both ends, and on the defensive end it worked, but at the offensive end, both of the DU studs struggled against a defense that was overplaying them at every opportunity on and off the ball.
The difference? Matt Brady, a head coach who hasn't adjusted his haircut since 1985, adjusted, told his guys to drive more despite the defense, took the ball out of the perimeter shooters hands in the second half and took a team that scored just 16 points in the first half and scored 34 points with them in the second. On the Drexel side, Bruiser took the side of the bull running at the matador, and when his initial game plan didn't work, just told his team to run that plan harder. And harder. And harder. This time they would defeat the matador! This resulted in Drexel scoring 23 points in the first half and 27 in the second. Never did he change it up. With every possession, the Drexel forwards were stunningly less and less involved... until they had to have a basket. Then they fed it to a forward. A lightbulb flickering amid a power outage.
People will talk about the inbounds play with 6.5 second left, a high risk baseball throw to half court that resulted in a turnover. I know people will be talking about that because I received text and emails from four states, none of them Pennsylvania, and half from people who weren't even Drexel fans, who were stunned that a coach would call something that stunningly outside the box (I'm being really nice here, or trying) in that situation. While I agree with the consensus, let us not pretend that Drexel was all that likely to hit the three. Drexel didn't lose the game there. Drexel lost the game because one coach went into halftime and threw out a gameplan that wasn't working, and the other coach didn't.
To be clear: If Matt Brady and his 1985 haircut had been coaching JMU this game, they would have won. And if Matt Brady and his 1985 haircut had been coaching the Drexel Dragons in this game, they would have won.
No word on how the team bus is doing after Bruiser drove over all of his players with it. Hopefully it's tough enough.