Monday, December 16, 2013
Drexel Outlasts Davidson
Last season, both the Dragons and the Wildcats were favored to win their conferences. Davidson held up their end of the bargain, winning the Southern Conference Tournament, then led Marquette most of the way before losing on a last second game winning layup by the Golden Eagles. Meanwhile, Chris Fouch got hurt for the Dragons during their third game of the season and Drexel never recovered, finishing 13-19 on the season and losing in the second round of the CAA Tournament to George Mason.
Matthew and I weren't the only CAA stalwarts at the game. Dan Crain, author of the terrific Dragons Speak blog and longtime fellow #CAAHoops tweeter made the trip down, along with several friends, from Philadelphia for the game and just happened to have seats right next to us. Dan was looking forward to the Drexel debut of junior guard Freddie Wilson, a transfer from Seton Hall.
But it was only a matter of time before Davidson's cold shooting would come into play. Drexel would score the next ten points over the next five plus minutes. A Frantz Massenat jumper would put the Dragons up 18-7 with 10:15 left in the first half. Wildcats' coach Bob McKillop called timeout to try to get his team going from the field.
But without Brooks, Davidson had no inside scoring threat and continued to miss regularly from outside the arc. Meanwhile, Massenat was a one man wrecking crew for the Dragons. He first scored on a three point play to put Drexel up nine. Then he buried a three pointer to put the Dragons up twelve, 32-20. Later a Kazembe Abif three point play put Drexel up fourteen, 37-23. Davidson scored the final four points of the half, much to the chagrin of Dragons' coach Bruiser Flint and the Wildcats were only down ten, 37-27 at the half.
The start of the second half had Chris Fouch channeling Loren Stokes (Google "Loren Stokes") with a couple of floaters in the lane to put Drexel up 41-29. The Dragons maintained their eleven point lead, 44-33 with about fifteen minutes left.
But the Wildcats would get no closer. The Dragons outscored them 9-4 over the next three minutes. The newest Dragon, Wilson, would score four of those points within the span. A Fouch three pointer put Drexel up 59-48 with just less than five minutes left.
Davidson had several opportunities from the free throw line to cut the deficit to as little as three points. But the Wildcats missed four of six free throw attempts over the span of thirty seven seconds. A Jordan Barham layup cut the deficit to seven, 59-52 with 2:47 left.
Massenat was a stat sheet stuffer on the day, leading all scorers with twenty five points and adding seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Fouch had seventeen points, while the newcomer Wilson added seven points. The Dragons out-rebounded the Wildcats 47-38, not surprising considering Drexel is 44th in the country in rebounds.
For a team that is trying to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996, Drexel appears to be back to their 2011-12 form. But they have their annual test at fellow Philly native St Joe's on December 18. Another road win over the Hawks would further strengthen their non conference resume.
Davidson very likely will be under .500 when they start conference play, Then again, in the 2007-08 season, the Wildcats started the season 4-6. They never lost again that season until the Elite Eight against Kansas. Never count out a Bob McKillop team.
Matthew and I said our goodbyes to Dan and his friends and wished them a safe trip back to Philly. Then we walked back into town, made our way to our car and headed home. On a nice sunny, relatively warm December day, maybe Matthew and I saw two eventual 2014 NCAA Tournament Teams.
One never knows in the wacky world that is college basketball.