When i say it was a huge second half, I mean that in more ways than one.
The Dragons outscored the Phoenix 45-30 in the second half to overcome a one point halftime deficit and win 79-65. The win snapped a four game losing streak for Drexel.
Drexel took Elon’s best shot in the first half, so being down by just one point was a good sign. Still, to go into the break losing to a less talented team and in the midst of a losing streak, it wouldn’t have shocked anyone if the Dragons came out flat.
They did not, and in the blink of an eye Drexel was up double digits. This is a credit to Coach Spiker and his staff. It doesn’t matter the opponents, if you lose four in a row, your confidence in going to take a hit. To keep his team focused, motivated and prepared to attack the weaknesses Elon showed in the first half is a sign on a really good coach.
Albeit early in the conference play, to lose at home against Elon could’ve been crippling for this team, but Spiker wouldn’t let that happen.
Of course, the players executed. Troy Harper remains in the zone. He is playing with focus that I haven’t seen from Harp before. He was 7-of-16 from the floor for 21 points, it’s not the most efficient offense, but many of his misses came on hard drives where he absorbed contact.
Alihan Demir was able to score in the paint on an Elon defense lacking a physical big man. James Butler and Tim Perry Jr. both seemed to lose focus on both ends of the floor. Perry being out of position on defense led to several easy baskets, and Butlers lack of concentration on offense caused several turnovers.
This was a typical Drexel performance. Some good, some bad, enough to beat an inferior opponent.
There was a bright spot I wanted to quickly touch on though.
Defending Jarvis Doles
Jarvis Doles played 8 minutes versus Elon. he went 1-2 from the field, knocking down a three. He had an assist and grabbed three rebounds.
You can see he wanted to show his teeth on defense, and on offense he just plays ball. He kind of reminds of Mareese Speights when he a rookie with he Sixers. Speight’s would just go out and play like he were in a pickup game. If he had a good look he’d shoot it from anywhere.
Doles reminds me of that type of player, and I am really optimistic after tonight. Although, maybe I shouldn't be?
Elon’s best big, Tyler Seibring, likes to play around the perimeter and isn’t much of threat to bang down low and score. The way Butler and Perry struggled it would have made sense to move Demir to center and play Doles at the four. You wouldn’t be giving up anything defensively or on the glass. I assume Spiker saw something I didn’t, but it felt like Doles was playing well and could’ve used the extra reps.
He can be a productive player for the Dragons and I will die on Doles Hill alone if I have to.
Stay Classy, Coach Spiker
I noticed at the end of the game in the handshake line Spiker stopped to speak with Dainan Swoope.
Swoope is an Elon guard, and one of their best players who had season ending ankle surgery earlier this season. He had his leg in a cast and resting on a scooter when stopped him and spent a good 30 seconds shaking his hand and giving him an encouraging word or two.
Not everyone does that, but Zach Spiker is a classy guy and that was a really nice gesture.