The game that Earl Grant’s Cougars play is very reminiscent of Drexel teams of recent past. They try to slow the game down, dominate the ball on the defensive end of the court, and make the most of their possessions. Their average possession time is among the highest in the country, and their tempo is among the lowest. They don’t give up the ball on offense. The positives for this team and the style that they play go on and on. The biggest difference that sets the Cougars apart for their competition lies in their ability to shoot.
The College of Charleston is an excellent shooting team, ranking near the top of the country in free throw percentage, and their two and three point percentages are nothing to turn one’s nose up at either. As far as individual performances go, slick shooter Joe Chealey is back for his senior season and he is picking up right where he left off. CAA All-Rookie First Teamer Grant Riller is back as well. Riller put up 30 points at the DAC last year, a career high for him at the time.
The Cougars have not been without their faults. Delaware gave them a run for their money on Tuesday as Drexel got absolutely run over by the Seahawks in Wilmington. As for the Dragons, they need to capitalize on the opportunities that the Cougars give them, because there will not be many of them. The X-Factor here might be Tramaine Isabell. The Dragons’ leading scorer has missed the last three games with a groin injury and there has not been any word as of yet on his status for Friday’s game.
Jarrell Brantley and Nick Harris will pose formitable challenges for Alihan Demir and Austin Williams in the front court. Grant has also shown a willingness to go small when needed with Marquise Pointer seeing more time this season.
If the Dragons choose to play turnstile defense like they did in Wilmington, this game will be over quickly. Charleston is way too efficient to let those chances go to waste. If they can get one of the Cougar bigs in foul trouble and take advantage of the resulting mismatch, things might go a little better. If the Dragons have a short bench, Charleston could try to exploit things from the foul line if the referees allow them to. They are really good at drawing fouls, and even better at converting from the line. Allowing another 30+ free throws will end the night quickly for the Dragons.
The prediction for this game goes in favor of the College of Charleston Cougars. If Isabell is healthy, he might be able to slow the bleeding a bit, but the efficient, surgical game that Earl Grant preaches is going to be too much for Drexel to handle.
Without Tramaine Isabell: College of Charleston wins, 75-60.
With Tramiane Isabell: College of Charleston wins, 75-70.