Drexel played one of their better games of the year. It came at a good time. I can not remember but this may have been the longest stretch where Drexel has gotten to practice with a healthy roster.
If practice makes perfect it showed in an impressive win over JMU. Drexel shot just over 32% for the game, but they held JMU, a team that had a picnic vs Drexel’s defense in 2 prior outings, to 25.6%. Matt Lewis, if he does not get poached by a power school, will not be fun for Colonial teams to guard. He had 15 points 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. Yes, that is a terrific line, but it pails to what he had done to Drexel prior. The key to this game was Drexel defended.
Drexel had many players contribute. They were led by Austin Williams 10 points, 15 rebounds and personal record setting 7 blocks. They won in spite of Tramaine Isabell shooting only 5-17 from the floor. In short, I believe Drexel got over the hump. They will need another team effort today. Tournament favorite, College of Charleston is next. In their first meeting, a tough trip to Philly seemed to get College of Charleston out of sorts. They played poorly. Drexel blew a double digit lead but still won 87-82 in overtime. In the rematch, Drexel was on short rest and even worse: without Austin Williams. Still, with 11 minutes to go, the game was tied. Yes, Drexel lost by 22, but I think the team grew from that loss. I think they truly knew they had it in them to beat the best.
Today, I’m not sure that Drexel’s best will be good enough. College of Charleston is experienced, talented and very well coached. They give away nothing on either side of the ball. I think this game will be played in the half court. Drexel will have to defend til late in the shot clock, each and every possession. If they can, this can go to the wire. Reading between the lines, yesterday was Drexel’s strongest performance this season. They need to top that today.
College of Charleston 63 Drexel 61
William and Mary played their worst game of the year, losing at home 99-73 to Towson. In the rematch, William and Mary led by 10 at the half, got tied, then got ahead by eight with over seven minutes to go. Towson scored late to get it to overtime, where they ran away and won 96-82. The scores tell you that this is probably not a great match up for The Tribe. Towson’s physicality seems to bother William and Mary. Towson was 5-0 in neutral court games this year. They started the season strong. They leveled off a bit when conference began. They have lost three in a row entering the conference tournament. Their graph is headed the wrong way.
William and Mary started the year losing at High Point, 100-66. Like all Tony Shaver teams, they got better as the year went on. They ended the season, playing their best basketball. Their graph is headed the other way. Will Towson revert to their early season form and continue to be undefeated on neutral courts? Or will Tony Shaver make the necessary adjustments to counter some bad match ups that his team has vs Towson? I think they both happen. With lots of bias, Shaver wins out.
William and Mary 78 Towson 73
Delaware used eight players in their fairly easy win over Elon. Eight. Coach Ingelsby must have felt claustrophobic. Delaware is another team that is playing their best right now. The players know what they are doing. They play hard and smart. I know I have written this before, but CAA fans should be excited about the future of the conference. There is more young talent throughout the league than I can remember.
Northeastern, well, they are Northeastern. Bill Coen has been successful for a very long time. Northeastern has been consistent throughout conference. Delaware hung a long way up in Boston before the Huskies got away in the last five minutes and won 74-64. At Delaware, Northeastern led most of the way and hit shots when needed to hang on 70-67. Northeastern should be about a five point favorite. Delaware did play them tough on both occasions. Delaware has all available players, healthy. They seemed to improve every game. There is something about them, that seems special. Yes, they blew a 34 point lead, but the word that hits me with Delaware is, “winner”.
Delaware 69 Northeastern 66
Hofstra and UNCW split 20 point home court wins. UNCW improved as they got comfortable with their coach’s system but they are still a bit erratic and their best effort is not good enough to beat Hofstra, who in many ways, is a better version of UNCW. Hofstra has played very poorly at times this year. More often than not, that has not been the case. I doubt UNCW will do anything, to make them uncomfortable.
Hofstra 87 UNCW 74