Drexel Dragons race out to fast start vs. William & Mary, eventually fall flat

“Their version of a layup is a wide-open three,” said Drexel Men’s Basketball coach Zach Spiker after his Dragons (7-10, 1-3 CAA) suffered an 85-63 loss to William & Mary (11-4, 4-1 CAA) inside of the Daskalakis Athletic Center on Sunday afternoon. 

W&M, led by David Cohn and Nathan Knight, shot 45% from downtown in the victory, and many were of the open variety. The Tribe finished the contest with 17 assists on 32 made baskets, and Spiker cited the Dragons’ turnover issues as the main culprit that enabled W&M to shoot and share the ball at such a high level.

The Tribe scored 21 points off of 11 Drexel turnovers, and they also mauled the Dragons on the glass, where they won the rebounding affair 41-30, including 12 offensive boards. 

“A lot of those were transition… Drive it up, kick ahead and the guy makes a shot. We didn’t do a good job of containing them in transition, which led to easy buckets,” said Spiker, who described the Dragons’ effort after securing an early ten-point lead and making ten of their first 14 shots as “disappointing.” 

“Anybody is better when you play connected on both ends of the floor. Early on we were doing a good job of that, but we weren’t as the game wore on.” 

W&M responded to Drexel’s early run by scoring 13 points midway through the first half, and they never looked back. 

Curbing Nathan Knight and David Cohn proved to be a difficult task for the Dragons, as there were easy baskets aplenty for the duo, who combined for 45 of the Tribes’ 85 points. Cohn registered a 26-point, six-assist performance, and he was backed by a 19-point and 13-rebound outing from Knight. 

Matt Milon also poured in 13 points for the Tribe, with most of his damage being done from behind the arc. 

W&M’s defense stymied Drexel’s offensive attack, with the Dragons only shooting 41% for the game, including a ghastly 38% in the second half. Drexel scored only one basket in the first nine minutes of the second half, which boosted the lead from manageable to insurmountable. 

Tramaine Isabell and Demir Alihan led the way for Drexel in the scoring department, with both players dropping 14 apiece.

Isabell, who kept Drexel within striking distance when things started to go sideways, only recorded two points in the second half.

Aside from Isabell and Alihan, no other Drexel player scored more than seven points. 

W&M showcased different defensive schemes throughout the contest, starting with man-to-man defense before making the switch to a 2-3 zone and even rolling out a 1-3-1. 

Austin Williams, who was pitted against Knight for the majority of the afternoon, finished the game with a quiet five points and six rebounds. W&M snuffed out the Dragons’ intent to initiate their offense through Williams, who was doubled on almost every possession if not on the catch, after one dribble. 

Williams did appear to tweak an ankle during the second half, although he returned to the game without any noticeable limping. 

Spiker acknowledged that his team has to trudge through any potential fatigue-related issues, as the home loss capped off a stretch of four games in eight days.

“100% learning experience… Four games in eight days, we’re in league play now and we’ll be on a Thursday/Saturday schedule from here on out.” 

Drexel will venture to Delaware on Thursday for a showdown against the Blue Hens (9-8, 2-2 CAA) before returning to the DAC on Saturday to square-off against Hofstra (9-7, 2-2 CAA). 

 

 

 

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