Monday, December 15, 2014

La Salle - Learning From Our Mistakes

Final:  La Salle 65, Drexel 55

Player of the Game:  Damion Lee
Key to the game:  Turnovers
Next Game:  Saturday December 16 @ Buffalo

At this point we could all do a fill in the blank postgame writeup:  Drexel bigs took only _(9)_ of the teams shots, Tavon struggled from the field so while he scored __(14)__ points he took __(15)__ shots to get there.  Officiating wasn't great but didn't effect the outcome.  Bru totally blew it by not pressing in the final 5 minutes when down double digits and by going to the four guard lineup again.  

Writing all of that for another few paragraphs isn't all that fun though, and I'm writing for free so lets talk about major flaws that were made more relevant than usual in this game.  All that, after one note that I'm absolutely hot about to the point of losing sleep:

Early morning December 9th, not 10 blocks from La Salle's campus, Philadelphia Firefighter Joyce Craig-Lewis was trapped in a burning home and tragically lost her life.  When Drexel played La Salle in a city matchup within hours of FF Craig-Lewis being laid to rest, no mention was made.  No moment of silence, no collections for the family, nothing.  With every other team in the city honoring her and the Department at their games, not doing so while playing La Salle stood out.  Drexel Athletics, your mission statement says that you "Empower personal growth, diversity, and leadership through a commitment to community outreach."  The professional sports teams in town showed that they were leaders, and part of the community.  Drexel stood silent.

Athletics, it's not too late, and I sincerely hope that the Dragons do step up and lead a drive to assist her family.  For those of you reading this, please realize that Athletics doesn't need to lead this charge, we can show Drexel and Philadelphia pride on our own.  If you feel the desire, you can send checks payable to Local 22 - Joyce Craig Lewis Memorial Fund to IAFF Local 22 at 901 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107.  

Back to the issues in the game at hand:

1)  There's more than a small chance that the Major Canady injury is hurting this team beyond what people anticipated.  It's early yet, and we have seen significant growth from Rashann London already, but currently the turnover rates for him and Freddie Wilson (27.1% and 22.7% respectively) are not great, and the type of turnovers in this game were cringeworthy.  In the preseason, I stated that Freddy shouldn't be the backup, it should be Damion Lee, and I stand by it.  Damion is currently leading the team with a 14.1% turnover rate. It's a lot to put on his shoulders, but Damion is playing like a guy willing to do anything to help the team win, as his rising rebounding numbers indicate.

2)  Tavon Allen is back, and while his numbers (and missed dunks) don't look great, to the eye test he looked much more mobile.  He was more willing to pull the trigger, he got his hands into the opponents passing lanes, and he was vocal in leading his teammates.  Even his shot selection wasn't brutal.  By far his best game of the season, and hopefully indicative of what is to come.  

3)  Give credit where credit is due.  La Salle's man to man defense brought back memories of some of the elite Drexel defenses over the years.  Those guards really got after it and forced the DU guards discomfort.  La Salle had 7 more points off of turnovers than the Dragons had, in a game that they won by just 10.  That defensive pressure certainly appeared, by the numbers and eye test, to be the difference in this one.

4)  With 10:33 left, I tweeted out:

From that point on, Drexel shot 7/12 (58%) and ended up losing by 10.  Clarity:  La Salle extended the lead while Drexel shot 58%.  Bruiser's four guard formation rotation crushed this team in the CAA Tourney in Baltimore, and it appears that Bru hasn't learned his lesson.  It has been an absolute catastrophe for this team to play 4 guard every single time he has used it for the last year and change.  Someone needs to get in his face about this, because if he keeps running this out there, the season is going to keep going like it is right now.

This team desperately needs a clean game.  There's a short turnaround and then a game in Buffalo tomorrow, against a team that likes to play an aggressive man defense.  Wish the Dragons luck, they need it.


  1. Three things, amigo..

    1. It was great to finally meet you in person.

    2. The father shouting, "We're bigger than they are! Get the ball inside!" from the Drexel stands was right.

    3. One thing I saw from LaSalle's man-to-man D was when Drexel ran 11 (or Twist, depending on how its opened) they were switching defenders even before there was a pick set. That is to say, they had the offensive scheme figured out and aggressively and easily contained Lee for the first half.

  2. One other thing: Let's not get down on London quite yet. He's a freshman who had an excessive number of turnovers in one game. Prior to the LaSalle game he was averaging 1.7 Turnovers/Game and never had more than 3. In fact, in Drexel's worst game for TO's against USC London had 1 out of 20 in 33 minutes on the court.

    If it becomes a pattern, well, then you need to address it. In fact, in Massenat's first 8 games he had 19 turnovers as compared to London's 18.