Friday, February 6, 2015

Elon - The Happy Recap

Final:  Drexel 67, Elon 63

Player of the Game:  Mohamed Bah
Key to the game:  "Money" In The Paint (That's Mo and Rodney folks, work with me) go for 17 and 14
Next Game:  Thursday, February 5 @ Elon

We're going streaking!

The Will Ferrell clip above was the low hanging fruit that prevented me from posting some Hooked on a Feeling.  Who knows, a win in Charleston and maybe I'll start getting high on believing.  No one game should get anyone too high or low, much less when the opponent stinks up the joint all by themselves.  With that disclaimer out of the way, there were a ton of good signs from this game.

First and foremost, the Dragons played four guard, didn't shoot the lights out, and still won.  The four guard is very weak against teams that score in the interior and rebound.  Despite Elon's lone big man, Tony Sabato, only having 5 points on 6 shots (he was well looked after by Rodney Williams and Mohammed Bah) the Phoenix still had 26 points in the paint.  Elon guards had 21 points in the paint, and that's the problem with the lineup that Bru has been trotting out there, because when that is combined with a frontcourt scorer, that is just way too much to give up at the rim.  One only needs to go back to Iona's 38 points in the paint to see that.  

Where is the good sign that in that?  Well, early in the conference season, Drexel wasn't even slowing teams down in the paint.  UNCW and their mediocre frontcourt had 30 points in the paint against them.  It seems that the guys have adjusted and are figuring things out a bit, and the return of Rodney Williams makes the four guard slightly more palatable.  No longer is Drexel among the worst teams in division I when they run four guard.  They're showing right now that they can beat bad teams with it.  Expect them to still get smoked when they run this against Hofstra or William and Mary, but prior to these last two games there was no faith that this lineup could beat even the worst teams in Division I.  Now, we can comfortably say that we're passed that stage.

A largely unspoken concern this season was the significant decline in Mohamed Bah's rebounding numbers.  Quite frankly, Damion Lee had better per possession numbers than Bah this season, and Damion doesn't even spend that much time in the paint.  So seeing Mohamed well positioned, ready for the ball, rocking some dunks, on his way to 10 points and 9 rebounds in just 21 minutes is fantastic.  It's actually better than that:  He had a steal, and didn't have a single foul or turnover all night.  While there is still plenty of work to be done for the sophomore, this will go down as almost a perfect game for him, and it'll be close, wanting only one or two possessions back.  As noted above, Bah and Rodney Williams combined for 17/14 with just 2 turnovers and 3 fouls.  They combined for only 45 minutes.  That's like putting one All-CAA caliber forward on the court.  Again, don't get too excited here and remember the opposition, but that has to be great for the coaching staff to see and will hopefully lead to even more passes to the bigs from their guards.

Want more good signs?  We've got em.  Damion Lee scores only 4 points in the second half, but the Dragons still put up 36!  Not only did Tavon Allen have his second straight efficient game (27 points on 19 fg attempts in his last two outings) but Sammy Mojica is rising just as fast as that Bad Moon that Creedence Clearwater Revival is always talking about.  His 12 second half points (just 7 attempts) paced the Dragons when they needed to find that second scorer.  And find him they have, Sammy has now put up 9+ points in six straight games, providing the guard accompaniment to Damion Lee's opponent wrecking ball.  How big has Sammy been?  Check this out from

As Sammy's offensive efficiency (O-Rating) goes, so do the Dragons, don't they?

So good signs at guard.  Good signs at forward.  Damion Lee.  If this team slows down and plays the three guard, maybe they can stay over .500 in conference play, despite a brutally challenging stretch run.  Just imagine this lineup out there:

Sammy Mojica/Tavon Allen
Damion Lee
Tyshawn Myles/Austin Williams
Rodney Williams/Mohamed Bah

And before anyone jumps on this, yes Tavon Allen does a lot for this team.  But ball don't lie and the offensive efficiency drop from Sammy to him is statistically obscene.

That lineup features a true pg, two options to be the hot hand at SG, the best player in the league at the three, a guy who may turn into the best rebounder since Samme at the four and two guys who are totally reliable to compete with anyone in the conference, and provide some offense at the 5.  That team can compete in this league.  So don't read too much into one game, but read something into the streaking.  Improvement!

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