Thursday, December 25, 2014

Drexel's win and Bruiser's plea

Further proof that basketball can be a funny old game sometimes.

Drexel's win and Bruiser's plea

(Remember to vote in the Readership Survey and send in your photos from games you attend.)

Pop quiz:

Which team this morning shot a higher field goal percentage and three-point percentage, had a far superior assist-to-turnover ratio, got more points in the paint and fast break points and had a higher points-per-possession average than the other team?

And which team only led for the first 39 seconds of play?

If you guessed Penn for both, you win nothing. But Drexel's 66-64 win this morning does show that soccer isn't the only funny old game in this world.

Honestly, I can't recall any point during the second half at which I thought Penn would win, until Zack Rosen got fouled jacking up a one-handed three-pointer and went to the line.

Naturally, Rosen missed the first free throw. Then Brennan Votel's putback after the third shot fell short, and the game was over.

The final stats make for some rather gruesome reading, but here goes anyawy...

Penn shot 23-for-61 from the field (37.7%), including 5-for-19 from three-point range (26.3%) and 18-for-42 from two-point range (42.9%), and 13-for-28 from the free throw line (46.4%).

Ten offensive rebounds, 27 defensive rebounsd, 17 assists, seven turnovers, four blocks, four steals and 26 fouls committed.

That adds up to 71 possessions and 0.90 points per possession.

Drexel shot 22-for-59 from the field (37.3%), including 5-for-20 from three-point range (25.0%) and 17-for-39 from two-point range (58.6%), and 17-for-32 from the free throw line (53.1%).

Fifteen offensive rebounds, 32 defensive rebounds, 14 assists, 12 turnovers, four blocks, three steals and 25 fouls committed.

That adds up to 72 possessions and 0.91 points per possession.

The assists-to-turnover ratio is pretty striking, but the rebounding differential is what decided the game. Yes, the free throw shooting mattered a lot, especially because Penn missedo some big ones at key times in the second half.

But Drexel got a third of the boards at its own end of the floor and scored 19 second-chance points, while Penn got only 28.9 percent and scored eight second-chance points.

There's the difference to me.

No one was really good enough to earn Line of the Day, to be honest. But credit to Drexel's freshman forward Samme Givens, who pulled down five offensive rebounds and five defensive rebounds in the game.



Now for the real news, and you probably knew this would happen at some point.

For a while now, Drexel coach Bruiser Flint has been talking loudly about how he won't play Big 5 teams unless they come play at the DAC. Well, Flint took full advantage of his time in the spotlight today to make his case once again.

I present to you a transcript of Flint's remarks on the matter during his postgame press conference. You can listen to the audio of the whole thing below.

WIP's Paul Jolovitz: Back in your day, this never would have even happened, and Drexel wasn't a part of the landscape in the city. Now, is this this a bigger part of the Big 5 evolving into the City Six, having a game like this here with the television and everything?

Flint: I hope so. But I hope people understand that, because I still can't get nobody to come into my building. This is the first time somebody's been in Drexel's building since when? Who was the last team to come?

Drexel Sports Information Director Mike Tuberosa: Early 90's.

Flint: Okay, early 90's. I played here when I was in college, '86. Okay? So that goes to show you. Everybody's on me about complaining about [being asked] 'Why don't you play at the Palestra?' The other teams don't play at the Palestra that much. So my whole thing is, so why should I play [there]?

I've been here eight years, and seven years I've played them there. And most of the time it [i.e. Penn] was my first game. So this is what I'm talking about. Things change. I love the Palestra - [I'm a] Big 5 kid, I watched those games, doubleheaders on the weekends, right? I was a part of it, played in it, streamers, I know the tradition.

But basketball changes, and it has. So I shouldn't have to play every game against people in the city at the Palestra. I've been in Philadelphia eight years, I've played at least two teams a year in Philadephia. Not one team except for today has been in this building. That's not good basketball business. That's not. I don't care what anybody sais and I hate to make it like that, but it's not.

I appreciate Penn; they did a lot to come here. They changed the venue, early morning game, I thank them for all that. They were outstanding. But I've got to stop playing these teams if they don't come into this building. I've got to, I'm sorry.

Me: Is that symptomatic of something bigger with the mid-major schools, trying to get even A-10 schools to come to their buildings?

Flint: We're too tough - I've got three home games this year. Actually I think we've got four. Now, two of those games, one got switched or I'd have been on the road. One of those games is BracketBusters, so you get it. It wasn't even scheduled, they give it to you. I actually thought I was going to be on the road for BracketBusters because we were home last year.

So now all of a sudden, I've got two home games. And I'm playing in what people say is probably if not the best, then the second best mid-major conference in the country. Two home games? that doesn't happen. It doesn't happen at ODU, it doesn't happen at VCU, it doesn't happen at George Mason. It doesn't happen at those schools.

And the amazing thing is, four of six years we've been in the postseason playing that schedule. So we've got to stop doing it. I want to put my kids in a situation where every year, they've got a chance to think, 'You know what? We can win games and get to the postseason.

But when you're playing nine out of 11 non-conference games on the road, that makes it harder for you. You'd better have a hell of a squad.

Jolovitz: So now you're in a Catch-22. Now the other other Big 5/City Six schools say, 'We're not going to play you -

Flint: That's okay.

Jolovitz: Doesn't that hurt you -

Flint: That doesn't hurt us.

Jolovitz: For the postseason?

Flint: It doesn't hurt us. We'll get somebody else, we just won't play them. Before I came here they had a long period when they didn't play any of the city schools. Am I correct? So we won't play them again.

And you know what? I always tell them and everybody will come back to me and say 'Bru, you're just on your pedestal.' Uh-uh. If you think your program is better than me, play me home and home. Bottom line. That's all I say to those guys: play me home-and-home.

And I've got no problem with that. If you're saying to me, 'Well, we're going to play you at the Palestra and our place,' I'm going to say, 'That's okay, we won't play you guys. Thanks, but no thanks. You're still my friends - I like you guys, will come to your games, watch you, cheer for you, text you when you won. You're still my friends, I still love you, but we're not going to play like that anymore.'

Another reporter (not sure who): What has their response been?

Flint: Their response has been, play them at the Palestra and play them at their place. That's always been their response. Until we won the four games that year [2006-070, and everybody was like, 'Let's take a few years off from playing you guys.' That's what happened.

But actually, St. Joe's next year, we're going to play at their new building. Phil said he'll come back here.

The reporters collectively gasped.

Flint: There you go right there. Actually, Phil wants us to open up his new building. He must think we're going to be terrible.

The house roared with laughter.

To his credit, Flint almost never raised his voice beyond a regular speaking level throughout the whole thing. And it's hard to not be sympathetic to the idea of wanting to have true home games on your floor.

But I think the truer measure of whether teams will go to Drexel will be when the Armory opens (whenever that ends up happening, and at this point, who knows). It will be a bigger and generally better venue, and that should help Flint and the Dragons draw better opponents.

It really is a problem suffered by mid-major schools nationwide. At some point, hopefully the logjam will break.

Then again, we're all still waiting for Syracuse to leave the state of New York before January, aren't we.

What do you think?


Jonathan Tannenwald Sports Producer
About this blog
Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

Jonathan Tannenwald Sports Producer
Andrew Albert Sports Producer
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