The Dragons made their inaugural 2017 Charleston visit to Charleston, South Carolina just a week prior to visiting again for the CAA Tournament at the North Charleston Coliseum. The good news might be that the Dragons won’t need to play the Cougars in the opening round of the tourney. The bad news is that if the Dragons do win Friday, it will be Charleston waiting for them on Saturday.
Charleston came into the game as the number one team in the country in ball handling, they’ve had the ball stolen away from them less than any team in the nation. The sure hands of junior point guard Joe Chealey (quietly a Player of the Year candidate) combined with a penetration offense that beats up the opposition (they are top 20 in the nation in getting to the free throw line) and a healthy, top 100 defense, the best in the CAA is how the Cougars want to win games. They used their Senior Night tournament tune up to exemplify that to a “T”.
And a “T” there was. Both Williams’ fouled out for Drexel. Rodney’s 4th and 5th fouls came simultaneously as the usually cool senior had had enough with the officiating and vocalized it after his 4th foul. The officials offered him a technical foul in return ending Rodney’s regular season Drexel career. Rodney had plenty of company as the officials called 49 fouls in this 40 minute contest and at the half the free throw count was 21 to 9 in favor of the Cougars. The crew of Michael Luckie, Scott Arbogast and Jon Wall didn’t do anyone any favors. Of interest, they were allowing players to do whatever they would like to screen on the outside, which aided penetration significantly. Once the teams both figured that out, the fouls on the big men who had to continuously run to play help defense against the penetration piled up. Simply calling the game correctly (or at all) on the perimeter may have halved the foul count in this game, but this crew had no interest.
The Dragons .99 points per possession against one of the better defensive teams in the country looks OK, but when you take out the aid they received from spending plenty of the game at the foul line one will find that number to be a bit deceiving. The point guard/shooting guard trio of Lee, Moran and Canady continues to struggle (3/16 from the floor) and the gaping hole that is Kari Jonsson’s absence continues to be on display. On the inside the numbers look better, as the forwards went 13/22, however they lost the battle on the boards badly and their shooting numbers were also aided by the number of fouls called. This game was lost in every phase by DU.
While the bright sides were few and far between, the Dragons did see John Moran return after leaving the James Madison game with an injury. Sam Green, who was not expected to play much this season also contributed with 11 points in just 18 minutes, spurred on by 3/5 three point shooting, and a smooth looking shot.
The Dragons will open up the CAA Tournament at 8:30pm in the North Charleston Coliseum (yes, another Coliseum) against James Madison University. AlwaysADragon.com will have live coverage on twitter and multiple articles daily from all of our contributors during the week leading up to the tourney. On behalf of all of the staff here, thank you all for taking the time to read this year as we embarked on a new era of Drexel Basketball.