Final Score: Drexel 95, Arcadia 81
Drexel Player of Game: Troy Harper
Key to the Game: Make your free throws
Next Game: Monday, November 17 vs. Houston
Monday’s game that pitted the Drexel Dragons against the Arcadia University Knights will go into the record books with an asterisk. While the contest will be logged as Drexel’s second of the season, due to Division III rules, Arcadia cannot open their season until next Wednesday. The game that counts for the Dragons will go down as an exhibition contest for the Knights.
Arcadia deserves a lot of credit. At times, they looked like the better team on the floor. While they lost by 14 points, 95-81, they showed a lot of heart. The teams went to the locker room after the first half with Drexel leading 51-42. A nine point lead against a Division III team. That was not the 20 minute frame that anyone was expecting. Arcadia, the smaller team, even out rebounded the Dragons 17 to 16.
Troy Harper came out hot, putting up 15 points in the first half. More on him in a minute. Tramaine Isabell made his first official appearance five minutes into the game. After sitting out the season opener against Bowling Green for a “violation of team standards” Isabell saw 13 of time in the first half. Offensively, he contributed seven points while shooting 2 for 6 from the field. He was, however, credited with a team high three turnovers.
The second half was a different story for Isabell. While his field goal shooting did not improve, his ball control and defensive play did. In the second frame, Tramaine Isabell saw 15 minutes of time and contributed three steals and two assists while committing just one turnover. He also made his fair share of trips to the charity stripe, shooting 8 of 10 on free throws. Isabell’s play culminated in a game high 22 points for the junior.
Evaluating his entire body of work, Isabell looked good. He is a very quick player, especially on the offensive side of the floor. One has to hope that this translates to his defensive play, but that evaluation can be made about most of the Dragons. Surrendering 81 points to a Division III team is something no coach or fan wants to see.
One aspect of the game that Drexel saw an improvement in was their three-point shooting. During the postgame press conference, Zach Spiker tempered the team’s expectations from behind the arc. “I don’t think we’ll be a 4 for 20 team,” Spiker said, “I don’t know if we’ll be a 10 for 24 team, we might be somewhere in the middle.” One thing is certain though, while it is early in the season, the Dragons are seeing considerably more production from their forwards from deep. With Alihan Demir ineligible for the second of a five-game stretch, Jarvis Doles and Sam Green split time at the “4.” The pair shot a combined 4 of 6 from deep. Although he played strong, Doles caught the ire of his coach after he picked up a late “T” that sent him to the bench for the night. “We got a technical foul, and that’s inappropriate.”
For those wondering how Austin Williams played after his hot start Friday night against Bowling Green, the senior scored 10 points on 5 of 7 shooting. He added three blocked shots in 28 minutes of time on the floor. It was a good appearance for Williams, but he definitely was not the center piece in what was an fast paced game that saw a total of 81 possessions for the Dragons, up from 78 Friday night.
Although he had a quiet second half, the player of the game for Monday night goes to Troy Harper. Harper did what he does best: he played up tempo, he drove to the lane, he made his layups and he got to the line. The former Philadelphia high school standout playing in his first season with the Dragons came to 34th street with a reputation for drawing fouls. In the first half, Harper made it to the line seven times, converting all seven freebees for points. He went to the locker room with a game high 15 on 4 for 7 shooting in 14 minutes, and finished the game with 17 points. His contribution in the second twenty was on the boards, as he picked up a team high five rebounds in the second half.
Harper has adjusted well to Coach Zach Spiker’s up-tempo game. “It (goes) back to my high school days at Neumann-Goretti. We push the ball, nobody who cares who shoots,” Harper said, adding that there is an unselfish competition between the guards, “We are playing so fast that you are going to be gassed so you sub out, and once you get your gas back you sub back in for someone else.”
Harper has appreciated playing with the other two guards in the backcourt. It gives him a level of flexibility that plays into his style, “I love it, I’m not really a point guard, I’m more of a combo guard,” Harper said, “I don’t have to play on the ball and it helps Kurk so he doesn’t have to dominate the ball as much and adding Tramaine (Isabell). . . he’s great. He’s one of the most talented players I’ve ever seen.”
On the injury front, one noticeable absence was that of backup center Tyshawn Miles. After playing a strong game against Bowling Green, an injury during warmups kept Miles on the bench for the night, according to Spiker. “We wanted to put Ty in the game but the trainer came to us just before tip and said he might have tweaked something.” Spiker added that there is no change in Miles Overton’s status. The senior swing man was once again present on the Drexel bench. The lack of a boot on his foot was noticeable.
Drexel leaves for Lynchburg, Virginia Wednesday night for the relocated Paradise Jam. Friday’s game at 2:30pm pits the Dragons against a very good University of Houston team. The game will be televised online through FloHoops. For those who want to follow more casually, keep an eye on AlwaysDU on Twitter, as the Always a Dragon team will provide full coverage of the weekend’s games.