Unlike some of their Colonial Athletic Association conference foes, the conference favorite Drexel Dragons did not show a great momentum-building effort in their opening night contest. Actually, it was quite the opposite, as the Dragons showed many signs for concern in their 66-62 overtime loss at Kent State.
Offensively, the Dragons really struggled to find a consistent rhythm and failed execute as a collective unit. Most notably, the team’s high-profile backcourt of Damion Lee and Frantz Massenat struggled to score, putting up only 8 and 6 points respectively. While Chris Fouch did pour in 24 points, head coach Bruiser Flint can’t rely on his junior wing, a career 36% three-point shooter, to shoot 12 threes every game, drill half of them and be their main option every night on offense. As a team, Drexel only shot just 37 percent from the floor.
The Dragons also had great difficulty defending the Golden Flashes’ key players. Heading into last night’s matchup, it was obvious that Kent State was going to rely heavily on their inside-out combination of Chris Evans and Randal Holt. And, even though the Dragons game-planned for that offensive attack, they still couldn’t stop Evans score 21 points and grab nine rebounds or Holt put up 17 points. The Dragons need to improve their defense on team’s best players as well.
But, the biggest problem the Drexel dealt with in their season opener, was taking care of the basketball. In 2011-2012, the Dragons only turned the ball over 12 times per game. Last night, they gave it away 16 times, uncharacteristically high, and the biggest culprit was the point guard. Massenat, who is historically a well-composed, collected caretaker of the basketball, really let his team down in the turnover category, especially late in the game. Massenat led the team with 5 turnovers and most notably lost the ball after securing an offensive rebound late in the game and double-dribbled on the team’s last possession.
Next up, Drexel has a tough home opener on Thursday night, when Illinois State comes to the Daskalakis Athletic Center. For Flint and co., hopefully they’ll be able to right the ship if they want to win the chip.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @fischsportsline.