|Drexel fans know this feeling well|
At the 9:14 mark in the first half of last night's Drexel loss at the University of Delaware, Rodney Williams was called for a dubious foul. He was moving away from the direction of the basketball when a referee blew the whistle and indicated he was pushing the man in between him and the ball. Bruiser Flint, as he is known to do, went after the official, providing his interpretation of the play and perhaps his thoughts on the call. Once this was done, the signal went to the bench to send in a substitute for Rodney, as that had been his second foul and the coaching staff wanted to protect him from getting his third in the first half.
Unfortunately, Coach Flint spent too much time jawing at the official, and as a result the subsitute came off the bench too late to check in during that stoppage of play. Kazembe Abif had to wait until the following stoppage to check into the contest. The following stoppage was due to a Charging [Player Control] foul on Rodney Williams, his third foul. Because of that third foul, the Drexel coaching staff held Rodney out not just until halftime, but through the first four minutes of the second half. In those first four minutes, Delaware scored 15 points, and the game went from tied to a seven point Delaware lead.
Delaware ended up winning by nine.
It's rare that we can draw such a straight correlation from a coaching mistake to a games outcome, but if there was a game, this was it. And it went well beyond just taking too long speaking to an official. This was a two point game at the "Under 4" media timeout in the second half. The teams starting point guard, who had 5 first half assist and no turnovers on the night, Terrell Allen, never entered into the game during the final four minutes, a head scratching personnel decision. And then there was this:
Coming down the floor down 4 with 1:12 to go, the Drexel guards passed the ball around the perimeter for 18 seconds before Tavon Allen took the shot in the above picture. Bruiser only used two second half timeouts in this game, leaving one in his pocket, perhaps thinking it could be used next game, a la Donovan McNabb's second overtime snafu. Instead of using the last timeout, instead of calling a play and getting the ball to Rodney Williams on the block, who had already scored 10 points on just 6 field goal attempts, this was the shot the Dragons took, an off balance three, while down four with 51 seconds to play. If you're still looking for a reason this team struggles in close and late games, look no further.
And so Monte Ross and Delaware have their first win. Their defense was terrible and their front court were nothing but turnstiles, but after making jumpshots early, Drexel fell in love with the jumper for the rest of the first half until the staff re-adjusted their focus during halftime. Again. They turned away easy points for harder ones. Again. They lost a close game. Again. At this point, it's time to be concerned about the University's tax-exempt status, because there is clearly no education going on in the men's basketball suite.
Thanks to Chris Mlynarczyk of Blue Hen Studios for providing photos from the Drexel/Delaware contest. He continues to be a pleasure to work with.