Final Score: UNCW 75, Drexel 63
Drexel player of the game: Kaz Abif
Key to the game: Turnovers, turnovers and turnovers
Next Game: Saturday Jan 2 @ Elon
In a year Drexel Athletics would love to forget, the last game of the 2015 calendar year for the Drexel Dragons was one for the ages. A plethora of near statistical impossibilities culminated in the teams 10th loss of the 15-16. In a game that was marred by relatively ineffective shooting, the battle of the boards should have meant the world. And the Dragon frontcourt brought the heat.
The team was almost unbelievably dominant on the glass, even when Kaz Abif left at the 13:11 mark of the first half in foul trouble. The frontcourt ran deep, seeing seven minutes of action from Austin Williams and another six from Tyshawn Myles with the pair netting 3 points and 6 boards between them in just 13 minutes of work. Mohammed Bah picked up an assist in his two minutes of work, although he was largely relegated to bench duty behind 15 points and 15 boards in 34 minutes.
While the Dragons shooting continues to struggle (more on this after the Elon game) the rebounding meant that on higher then two thirds of Drexel's shot attempts, the outcome was positive for the team. That is to say the shot attempt resulted in either points, an offensive rebound, or a trip to the free throw line. That is pretty damn good. The easy stat here is that this is the first time Drexel rebounded over 50% of their missed shots and lost since they hosted UMass in the NIT in 2012. That's a stat with some age. The deep stat is that this is the only the second time this decade that Drexel has had a greater than 50% offensive rebounding percentage and still had under a point scored per possession. That's just hard to do.
Shooting poorly isn't what most helped the Dragons achieve that bit of statistical ridiculousness, because as noted above, just taking a shot at all resulted in a win most of this game. That's what frontcourt domination can do. Not taking a shot at all though - this is a problem. And on over a quarter of Drexel's possessions, that's exactly what happened. 18 turnovers in a 70 possession game is a good way to get taken to school. The amazing thing here is that UNCW was nearly as bad, coughing it up 17 times.
Summarizing: Drexel lost - by double digits - in a game where they absolutely dominated the opponent in the paint and the opponent turned the ball over 17 times.
Foul Shots taken: Drexel 19, Wilmington 38.
And there's the rub. Sloppy box outs lead to fouls. Sloppy turnovers led to fouls. Sloppy off the ball defense led to fouls. Stupid defense led to fouls on three point attempts. And while the big men have had their problems - Rodney Williams' 4/15 shooting and 6 turnovers leading the way on this night, it's largely the guards hanging their larger brothers out to dry thats led to the foul issues.
Two months into the season this team is playing like a group of freshman, which is more stunning because the best offensive player they have had so far is, you guessed it, their only freshman. It's sloppy, it's not particularly fun to watch, and that's without touching on the shot selection. With just two months until Baltimore, Bruiser Flint has his work cut out for him, and that's a shame. Because where there was focus, in the area they thought they needed to win in this game, they won. Once again, the talent was there. But in the areas that were outside of that focus there was no focus at all.