Monday, February 22, 2016

William and Mary - Away - Postgame

Final Score: Drexel 74, William and Mary 69
Drexel Player of the Game: Terrell Allen
Key to the Game: Perimeter Shooting
Next Game:  Thursday Feb 25 vs Delaware

Blaine Taylor may have said it best on the broadcast: "Tony Shaver might be calling the league office asking to play anyone other than Drexel on Senior Night."  After a season in which everything that could go wrong has seemed to go wrong, the shoe was on the opposing Claw and Moccasin for the Dragons and Tribe.  William and Mary, one of the top shooting teams in the country, missed layups, shot 50% from the free throw line and shot under 30% from deep.  Drexel on the other hand saw 27% three point shooter Rashann London splash both of his attempts and 26% three point shooter Terrell Allen hit a pair of his three attempts as well.

Flying under the radar, Terrell Allen has shot a team leading 35% from distance during conference play.  After a benching a few weeks ago due either to injuries or performance, depending on which moment Bruiser Flint is talking about it, Terrell has seemed to bring an added fire and some discipline in this game.  He showed that beautifully when backing off of a fast break opportunity to feed a wide open Tavon Allen for three.  Terrell also showed the ability to take his man and get to the basket, at times for layups and at others, when the help came, to take a short jumper that he's hit with some consistency.  If his team leading 20 points weren't enough, he also had a pair of assist and not a single turnover in his 30 minutes running the point.

That last statement might be the most impressive.  This Dragons team has been riddled with mistakes this year, but in this game they only had 6 turnovers.  On the defensive end, not all was perfect.  In the first half, the Dragons took a beating from the William and Mary cutters.  All of the warning signs were there when the game was tied at the half with The Tribe having only shot 1 of 10 from deep in the first period.  Certainly they wouldn't do that again in the second, and they didn't, shooting 5 of 11 (46%) in the second half.  Not only did Drexel answer that salvo with their three point shooting, they separated themselves at the foul line.  Terrell Allen, Rodney Williams and Kazembe Abif all made multiple trips to the stripe in the second half with much success.  Meanwhile, William and Mary stars Omar Prewitt (3 of 7 from the line) and Terry Tarpey (no ft attempts) - celebrating his Senior Night - had no answer.

So the Dragons caught some breaks - an emotional, off night from William and Mary, "let em play" referees and some hot shooting, but in a lot of ways they made their own luck as well.  Rodney Williams had 16 points on just 13 shots in front of his family, Kazembe Abif put up another double double (his sixth of the year) and Terrell Allen played with the poise of a senior.  When those three can stay on the floor and the pieces around them simply contribute at a league average level, this team isn't a bad basketball team.  And when they stop shooting themselves in the foot (and they tried a couple of times down the stretch in Williamsburg) they can win some games.  Credit also goes to the coaching staff that tightened the screws of their defense at halftime, and sat down Terrell, likely losing the Delaware game because of it, until he was playing with the discipline needed to help this team succeed.

Not to rain on the parade, but last year after winning in Williamsburg the Dragons came out flatter than a pancake that Daryl McCoy just stepped on in their next game.  That was in the CAA Tournament.  They blamed fatigue, but they had just had 6 days off and anyone watching the events unfurl in Baltimore recognizes horseshit when they see it.  This years team has a choice when they hit the floor against Delaware on Thursday night.  They can use this newfound momentum of their one game winning streak, or they can be satisfied with their win and pack it in the rest of the way.  It is absolutely a choice.  And while none of these games seem like big games, the home game against UD is a rivalry game, a revenge game and will determine who comes in last place in the CAA.  The motors on guys like Terrell Allen need to stay running from now through the end of the season, or this stand in Williamsburg will just be a step on the way to representing the British in Yorktown.

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