Monday, December 1, 2014

Southern Miss - The Happy Recap

Final:  Drexel 59, Southern Miss 36
Player of the Game:  Damion Lee
Key to the game:  The Bigs!
Next (D-I) Game:  Sat Dec 13 vs La Salle

In a game between two bad teams, Drexel proved themselves better in the new and improved DAC on Sunday.  If Patriots vs Packers was a Super Bowl preview, then this game had all the hype of a preview of the CBI Consolation Game two seasons from now.  All this in front of an atmosphere in which, had a tree fell in the DAC, people would have heard it make a sound.   Out of conference basketball on Thanksgiving weekend everyone, feel the excitement!

We did learn a few things in this game, notably that Damion Lee is BACK (now shooting 48% from distance in the early season).  At halftime the score was SMU 21 to Damion's 19, which gives DU a pretty good shot of winning the game, however when Lee took a backseat on offense in the second half, Drexel's scoring took a plunge.  This game was probably more of a statement on SMU basketball as the Dragons won by 23 but still left the game with a laundry list of issues, including but not limited to:

1)  Scoring imbalance:  In a game in which the big men dominated the opposition (over 40% of Drexel's missed shots were grabbed for offensive boards) the DU bigs still didn't break even 20 points as a group.  Early on Rodney showed a faceup game against his man that was brilliant, going baseline and breaking past the defender for a dunk, later he hit a hook shot, and none of these were attempted again.  Tyshawn Myles came off the bench and racked up 10 boards, but only got 3 shots and ended the game with just two points.  This is fun:  Mohamed Bah had 2 buckets, neither assisted by a guard, while he had 2 assists to a guard.  The complete and utter refusal to feed the post, even when the forwards are dominating the other team, after Bru said in preseason that he wants the big guys to score, is staggering.

2)  Turnovers:  The 11 turnovers may not seem bad until one notices the pace of the game.  There were only 54 possessions in this game, so the Dragons still turned over the ball over 20% of the time which is, in a word, atrocious.  For perspective, the Dragon's never turned the ball over 20% of the time in a game last season.  This season they have already done it 3 times.

3)  The third rail:  Rashann London seems to be gaining confidence and improving his play at the point as the season moves on, while Tavon Allen and Freddie Wilson continue to struggle.  If you see a Drexel coach on campus, ask them why an injured player who is shooting an effective field goal percentage of 31% needs to ask to be taken out of a game.  Freddie is hitting 19% from deep himself right now, so competition there is not, but Mojica seems smooth with the ball and the U Sciences game might be just the time to give him a shot.  The team is hitting the point where giving Sammy a shot is worthwhile, simply because he can not be worse.  I'll continue to stand by the idea that Freddie will shoot better as soon as he is taken off of the point permanently.  Keep it simple.

While it wasn't a great win, there were bright spots (Lee's shooting, the defense on Bingaya and in the second half the adjustments with Carey, all while dominating the boards).  Someone once said that you have to start somewhere, and winning by 20+ is a pretty good way to start the trek back to decency, no matter who the opponents are.  While no one should get ahead of themselves and think this team is back, or even competitive with good teams, movement in the right direction is important.  When out of conference season started I spoke of the Denise Dillon using OOC play to work through her rotations and finding what works for the CAA season, and there's signs of the Dragons men doing this.  With two weeks off just when the Dragons needed them, they have a chance to come back in shape and looking competitive when we see them again in Mid-December.

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