On a cold winter Saturday, the struggling Dragons went to arch rival Delaware and watched their best player struggle from the field, lost the turnover battle, and had one of their three available forwards foul out in 8 minutes flat! And they won the game. It may not have been drawn up that way.
Few would predict the Dragons to win a game when Damion Lee only hits three shots from the field. While his perfect 11 of 11 from the line had a big impact on the win, it was his teammates rallying to the rescue that brought this one home. That list of teammates starts with a guy that the coaches have pretty clearly been avoiding for the past month, Tyshawn Myles. Myles put up 11 points and 11 boards in 26 minutes, his first career triple double. Behind Myles, Tavon Allen shot a disciplined (ok, one shot had me do the no, no, no, YES!) 5 for 10 effort from the field. Sammy Mojica added 8 points on just 6 field goal attempts.
From this vantage point, the most important take away in this game was the starting lineup:
G Rashann London
G Tavon Allen
G Damion Lee
F Mohamed Bah
F Austin Williams
It wasn't Williams finest hour, fouling out in 8 minutes and thus restricting the Dragons to using the 3 guard lineup for only 10 minutes in the contest. Despite that the 2 forward lineup set a tone. Drexel was able to offset the turnover differential in this game (UD only had 5) by winning the battle on the boards for the first time since the Penn State game in Allentown.
With the number of shots taken by the teams near equal, this game came down to execution: who hit their shots. The self proclaimed "worst shooting team in the CAA" wouldn't have been the pick of many, but with an outstanding 81% from the line (Damion 11/11, rest of team 6/10) and 36% from 3 (Tavon Allen 2/4) it was the Dragons who prevailed.
Was this game the blueprint to longterm success? Probably not. When your coach thinks you have the worst shooting team in the league, it's a really good idea to take more shots than your opponent. The Dragons were very lucky that Kyle Anderson had his worst shooting game of the year. Foul trouble dictated this game though, and it was clear that the Dragon coaches were trying to get another rebounder on the court throughout, they just weren't able to. At one point they pushed Tyshawn Myles to the point where he had to ask for a breather, which is a great sign of change from the staff as well as show of confidence in a kid who deserves it.
So maybe a tiny step towards a blueprint is there. Maybe it's simply to return to what Bru has always done: Winning the boards, taking care of the ball, playing strong defense and then hoping the offense can hit tough shots. It's not the sexy thing, but it's something this team can execute. And with Damion Lee, perhaps the best guard ever to wear a Dragons jersey, maybe they can hit some of those tough shots as well.