Final Score: San Diego 62 Drexel 59
Player of the Game: Terrell Allen
Key to the Game: Shooting (That's more like it)
Next Game: Saturday December 5 @ La Salle
Refreshing. Same old, same old. Terrifying?
It's tough to define the Dragons loss to the University of San Diego in Alaska on Saturday. 0-6 is 0-6, but this felt so different than the other games this year. Instead it felt like the losses of the last 14 years. The (Prodigal?) Sons of Flint managed to waste a massive rebounding and turnover advantage, with a shooting display matched only by The A-team and their opponents. Shot after shot was taken, miss after miss was recorded. Drexel played so well off the ball that they took 18 more field goal attempts than the Toreros. And they still lost. That's hard to do. It's also old school DU.
And that's a good sign. The crashing of the boards was back. The defense, less so, as they allowed USD to keep their season average 97% effective field goal shooting. Even that is improvement on the disaster that the Dragon "defense" has been to date. It's hard to have positive takeaways after losing to one of the worst 50 teams in Division I, but in this case there is. As noted in earlier posts, the question for this team was one of effort. In this case, while the shots didn't fall, the effort seems to have been there. The biggest concern that the fanbase seems to have - has Bruiser lost the locker room - seems to have not been a problem in this contest, and that's big, especially coming off of a loss to a D-II program that could have led to heads hanging throughout the bench.
Will the level of effort keep growing over the next couple of weeks, with only one game to be played and a lot of time to think about how bad this team has been? That's the million dollar question. This team is not good enough to win anything, even a game, without making the effort plays. If Bruiser can't hold this locker room together over the next two weeks then an ugly start to the season will encompass the entire season. If he can get them back on the same page then things get interesting again. Shots will fall (more on that in tomorrow's post) and Ahmad Fields will return. With rebounding and defense this team becomes interesting once the conference season begins.
For now, we saw a glimmer against San Diego. It may be a sad, sad glimmer. It may be just trying in vain to take a positive out of a lost trip. But for the second time this year (Hi St. Joe's!) Drexel won the hustle plays. And that was the flicker of light we were all looking for.