The Penn postgame report was written by Scott Kier:
Final Score: Drexel 53, Penn 52 in Overtime
Drexel player of the game: Kazembe Abif
Key to the game: Stop chewing gum on the court.
Next Game: Monday, December 28 @ Iona
When the NCAA made the rule changes that they did, the goal was to prevent games like the one that we saw at the DAC on Tuesday night. Many probably saw the eight minute delay in the second half to remove some chewing gum from center court as something more exciting than the 40 minutes of basketball that those of us at the DAC witnessed. From looking at the score line alone, one might have thought that this was a replay of a game from 2012 or 2013 when in fact, it was terrible offense that was a big contributor to this score.
Penn threw a wide variety of defenses at Drexel. After a “make” they ran a loose 2-2-1 zone press that Drexel had no issues breaking. It was almost as if it was there just to act as a means to slow a faster team down. They would then drop back into a 2-3 zone. Against a miss, they would drop back and play straight up man-to-man. No frills, and nothing crazy. Just old style basketball.
The twist came late in the second half when Steve Donahue started screaming “13!” from the sideline. His team dropped back into a 1-3-1 zone. This has always been my personal favorite zone defense. It is perfect for a quicker team that wants to push their opposition into the corner and force a turnover or bad pass with a trap. It is a lot of fun to watch when it is run well, and for the short time that Penn ran it they did a good job with it.
On the offensive side of the floor there was one play that was troubling while watching Penn. When the entry pass came to the post, Terrell Allen seemed to cheat a lot, trying to force the double on the low block. The point guard was then free to cut to the basket because Terrell was having trouble hedging back to his player. This resulted in a couple of easy layup attempts in the lane.
On the offensive side of the ball Drexel’s set against the zone continues to baffle. It is similar to a rotational zone system however the players do not rotate. A shooter is left running from corner to corner, leaving him little time to get set. One big goes back and forth from high post to high post, essentially acting as a pivot man for a pass or setting a pick at the top of the key to try and free up the ball carrier, which has always seemed largely ineffective. The problem though, is with the positioning of the other big.
One would think that the second big man would end up at the low post. Well, Bruiser pushes him down even lower to the point that he is actually behind the backboard almost on the end line. Standing there takes him out of the play. I have noticed with a pretty regular pattern that when this player positions himself there, the bottom 3 of the 2-3 zone will drift a little higher and you almost end up with a 5-on-4 situation. That big on the end line does not get many touches, and when he does, he has to come back out into the playing area to take a shot, or get himself under the backboard to the other side to even get a shot off.
To say the least, it’s a low percentage shot. It is the mid-range jumper of layups.
Speaking of shooting, Drexel somehow managed to win a game while shooting just 29% from the field. When it came to shooting 2 pointers, our guards were 6-24. The bigs were not much better going 4-14, and all 4 field goals belonged to Kazembe Abif.
Now that we have talked about how the team performed overall, let’s talk about some individual performances. Once again, Kazembe Abif was the standout guy in this game. He was aggressive at the rim and got himself to the line 9 times as a result. Unfortunately, he made only 5 of those free throws. Still, his numbers were good enough to give him a double-double as he totaled 13 points and 14 rebounds. He passed the eye test with flying colors as well. This kid has energy. There was skepticism when fans heard he was coming back to the court this season, but he has quickly become a Dragon favorite.
Tavon Allen continues to make freshman mistakes. And yes, I typed Tavon and not Terrell. He fouled a guy taking a 3 pointer in the first half. He had the late travel. It is hard to believe he is a senior sometimes. I don’t completely blame him though. There is a consistent lack of development when you look at many of the players to come through Drexel over the last fifteen years, but that is another blog post for another time. None the less, Tavon currently sits at 999 points for his Drexel career. His next game at Iona will be a milestone for his career, and he deserves credit for that.
Rodney Williams is not 100%. Not even close. And it showed tonight. With Austin Williams sitting on the bench next to Tyshawn Myles, who seems to feel the Wrath of Bru more than any other player, a strong case could have been made to keep Rodney out of the game. Not only did he fail the eye test tonight, but he was 0-1 from the field with 5 Rebounds in 24 minutes. It was a waste of a night in a non-conference game for a guy who was in a boot three nights ago.
Why risk it? Rest him. Even Myles only played 5 minutes in the game.
Mojica continues to puzzle me. He had his second off (WAY OFF) night going 1-7 from the field, 1-6 from 3. In his last 2 games he's 2-10 from the field and 2-7 from downtown. He had a few players just blow past him on defense and both of his fouls tonight were sloppy reach ins when a guy made it past him. One fan across from me stood up and yelled "MOVE YOUR FEET, SAMMY!" at one point, and I could not agree more. In the most puzzling move of the night, Bruiser subbed Mojica in for Terrell Allen for the last play of the game as a defensive sub. Terrell, in my opinion, is a lot quicker than Sammy and would have been better suited at that point.
If Mojica is going to be the 6th man, he needs to pick it up a bit. He has to produce more on the offensive side of the floor.
Going forward though, with Bruiser still being vague about Ahmad Fields' status, the hope is that come Conference play the team will look something like this:
PG - Terrell Allen
SG - Ahmad Fields
SG - Tavon Allen
PF - Kaz Abif
PF - Rodney Williams
6 - Rashann London
7 - Sammy Mojica
8 - Mohammed Bah
9 - Tyshawn Myles
As much as it pains to say this, Rashann London needs to come off the bench at this point. With him and Terrell out there the teams has two point guards. London is not a 2, no matter how much he tries to pretend that he is. He can, however, fill in for a 2 if needed. Bring him off the bench for any of the three starting guards. Let him add some energy from that sixth man position. He might not be as good a shooter as Mojica is supposed to be, but he can add a different dimension to a team that needs to rely more on the drive and dish than they do the three point shooting as they have in years past. Regardless, that bench needs to get longer.
This team needs to play 9 players. This seven player rotation just is not working. The guys are getting tired and getting beat late in the game. The kids just start to look gassed. They need to throw more options on the court, and in what many see as a throwaway season, there is no reason why the likes of Austin Williams and Tyshawn Myles should not get a chance to develop on the court rather than just in the practice gym.
A win in a win though. This is the second Big-5 team that Bruiser and the gang have beaten this season. It is a shame that we cannot play them all the time.