Tom Zamonski (@tomzamonski)
Drexel looks to find consistency against Rider on Saturday at the John A. Daskalakis Center.
Drexel (2-4) is coming off a 55-47 victory over Rice, which halted a two-game losing skid for the Dragons. Rider (4-4) enters the contest after falling to La Salle Thursday night, 63-52, ending the Broncs’ two-game winning streak.
Head Coach Bruiser Flint has not been too concerned with his team’s offensive approach, but has been disappointed in its defensive play.
“The only thing on offense that we have done that I don’t like is that we are turning the ball over too much. Other than that we are shooting a high percentage, shooting from the three, shooting from the foul line. We are averaging around the same amount of points we scored last year,” Flint told reporters. “Defensively is where we have had our problems.”
Flint believes the Dragons are struggling a bit with individual match-ups on defense.
“We are not guarding anyone. Lately they are getting their butt kicked and that’s what it comes down to,” Flint said.
“Guys got to step up and be ready to play defensively. Sometimes we need a lot of individual match-ups and we haven’t handled that well. We have been getting our butts kicked.”
The Dragons’ Derrick Thomas will have the toughest assignment on defense, as he will likely be matched against Rider’s Nurideen Lindsey.
Lindsey was once a coveted recruit from Overbrook High School. He originally committed to play for Steve Lavin at St. John’s but eventually found the need to come back to the Philadelphia area.
The 6-3 guard leads the Broncs in scoring, averaging 14.3 points a contest. This is no surprise, as he was a prolific scorer during his time at Overbrook, where he was the sixth-highest scoring player in Philadelphia high school history. Lindsey’s accolades are well known to Flint.
“He is a good player,” Flint said. “…I have known him for a long time so I know the kid’s game.”
Flint’s familiarity with the Philadelphia native will be an advantage to the Dragons because the head coach understands the strength’s of Lindsey’s game.
“Got to keep him out of the lane,” Flint said. “If he gets in the lane he can create for other players. He is a great finisher at the basket and great in transition.”
If Lindsey is able to penetrate into the lane, the Dragons’ big men will have to play up to the expectations of Flint. Drexel’s head coach has been disappointed by their defensive effort early into this season.
“I’m not worried about scoring points with our big guys,” Flint said. “I don’t think they rebound and I don’t think they are playing great defensively. Problem I have had with my big guys is that I don’t think they are defending the rebound like they should be.”
The Dragons enter the game 280th in the nation, averaging a mere 32.3 boards a game. However, Rider may be able to help build Drexel’s confidence level on the glass. The Broncs are also a poor rebounding team as they only average 33.0 boards a game, 260th in the country.
Dayrl McCoy, 6-9 and 280 pounds, and Dartaye Ruffin, 6-8 and 250 pounds, should be able to build upon their season averages. McCoy is averaging a team-high 7.2 boards while Ruffin is second with 6.5.
Rider’s top rebounders are junior Daniel Stewart, 6-7 and 210 pounds, and junior Anthony Myles, 6-5 and 200 pounds. Stewart leads the Broncs, averaging 5.9 boards a game, while Myles is second with 4.9.
The size advantage the Dragons have in the frontcourt should see Drexel out-rebound the Broncs. However Drexel’s bigs must stay out of early foul trouble if the Dragons are to win the battle of the boards.
In the Dragons’ previous home game against Illinois State, McCoy’s foul trouble limited him to only 15 minutes of play and Drexel wound up dropping the game in overtime.
Saturday’s game will be the Dragons’ second home game of the season. After a 1-2 showing in the Anaheim Classic, Drexel hopes to win back-to-back games for the first time this year.
The Dragons and Broncs will tip off at noon on Saturday from the DAC.