Final: Drexel 85, UNCW 76
Player of the Game: Bruiser Flint
Key to the game: Preparation
Key to the game: Preparation
Next Game: Thursday, February 5 @ Elon
Lets start off here: This was a great win for the team, in the fastest paced game they played in this year. Alan and I may have come close with predicting a considerable win, but the way the game played out was so unlike what we predicted, you have to put us down as more lucky than good on that one. And it wasn't just us who were more lucky than good. Before reading further, consider this:
The worst shooting team in the conference was severely out-rebounded, was minus 5 in turnovers and gave up 42 points in the paint.
That team was the Drexel Dragons on Saturday. That plan is not a sustainable path to success. I think - hope - everyone recognizes that. Damion Lee had 32 points, the team shot over 60% from the field, and this was only a 6 point game with 1:50 to go. Had the team shot their season average 39%, they would have scored 63 points and lost this one by double digits. These Dragons should want no part in playing a game with scores in the 70's. And with Elon, another running team, next on the schedule, Drexel fans have every right to be highly concerned that the Dragon coaches roll out a similar "run with the opponent" gameplan.
Pushing all of that aside for a minute, there's a reason that Bruiser was named Player of the Game on this one. Despite the horrific running/ 4 guard gameplan, and brutal inbounding with a lead late, he had a better than ok day. For the vast majority of the game, UNCW's press was worth much more to the Dragons than the Dub. Drexel came out prepared for the pressure and answered with layup after dunk after layup - a big reason that they were able to show such a high percentage shooting - with apologies to Rodney Williams missed dunk - dunking and layups are usually high percentage shots.
Also, while Bru did not go with offense/defense subs down the stretch featuring 2 forwards on defense and 1 on offense (while the DU offense was going to be fouled), he did introduce a tweak where Mohamed Bah would play the offensive leg and Rodney Williams played D. This worked to perfection the first time it was run, with Bah hitting both foul shots (he is now shooting 79% from the line this year), Rodney Williams getting in position to take a charge, and then Bah slamming down a dunk with authority.
The run and gun strategy was horrendously, almost hilariously, wrong. In this era of Whole Food like sustainability, the idea of winning with this gameplan is totally unsustainable, so maybe Player of the Game is a bit much. But when it came to the smaller games within the game, Bru and his Dragons came out winners. So we tip our hat today.
And pray he never tries it again.
Damion Lee Player of the Year Watch (this will be a postgame section going fwd, with CAA play only statistics:
Kenpom O-Rating: 119.5 (4th, 3rd amongst guards)
PPG: 23.9 (1st)
FG%: 49% (8th, 3rd amongst guards)
3pt FG%: 43% (5th)
FT%: 91% (2nd)
RBP: 7.2 (4th)
APG: 2.5 (13th)
Steals/G: 1.4 (6th)
Min: 38.5 (1st)
Current Kenpom.com all conference team:
1. Terry Tarpey
2. Marcus Thornton
3. Damion Lee
4. Scott Eatherton
5. Juan'ya Green