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Wilson, Drexel run out of gas in CAA tournament opener

03/17/2015, 2:00pm EDT
By Teddy Bailey

Teddy Bailey (@TheTeddyBailey)
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BALTIMORE– Drexel’s tank ran empty a little earlier than the undermanned Dragons would have liked.

Bruiser Flint’s young bunch, though, powered through a plethora of obstacles for as long as they could endure.

Following a strong first half, the Dragons went weary down the stretch as College of Charleston ended the final 3:18 on a 12-2 run to send Drexel home in the first round of the CAA Tournament on Friday night, 56-48.

Freddie Wilson, in his final game as a Dragon, scored a team-high 17 points despite showing his exhaustion late. Wilson, after dancing his way to the basket a few minutes before, airballed a 3-pointer with 2:48 to play with the game tied at 46. Charleston’s Canyon Barry sealed the deal with ensuing free throws and a tough layup.

“As soon as I jumped I felt it,” Wilson said of his airball. “I didn’t really get off my feet so I knew my legs were done.”

Playing with just seven players may be an overpowering obstacle for some teams, but no, not Drexel. The Dragons were fresh off a shocking 80-68 upset over first-place William & Mary last Saturday – and were looking for more blood in Baltimore. To the dismay of Flint, Wilson, and the shortlist of Dragons, their hunt did not end without a fight.

“It was a good effort,” Flint said. “We ran out of gas, what are you going to do? They did a good job of sort of making us play full court pretty much the whole game, especially on offense. We just got tired.”

“It gets tiring after a little bit,” Wilson said. “But the TV timeouts help a lot. Playing the whole game is kind of hard. I felt like we played great. All my teammates played their hearts out. With only seven guys I feel like they did a great job.”

The Dragons led the Cougars 29-24 at halftime courtesy of 11 first-half points from junior guardTavon Allen. Allen would go on to score just four points in the second frame.

With zero guards to substitute, both Freddie Wilson and Tavon Allen played every breath of Friday night’s first round game. After all that Drexel has had to deal with this season, Flint can only speak highly of how they have handled it.

“They never quit,” Flint said. “We had a lot of things happen to us this year and every time we thought we had some momentum, something else happened. I give the guys a lot of credit because they just kept playing hard. Once Damian [Lee] went down, we could’ve said, ‘Alright, man. That’s it.’ But they didn’t.”

College of Charleston was paced by sophomore guard Canyon Barry, who scored 14 of his 19 points in the latter part of the second half. Barry was able to toy with the gassed Drexel guards near the rim – converting all seven of his underhanded free throws in the process.

“Coach Grant has stressed all week coming into this tournament how important it is to drive the ball,” Barry said. “Especially with their limited depth. Obviously, foul trouble hurts them. The whole time was really trying to finish in the paint, and we executed that today.”

Bruiser Flint has nothing but good words to say about his team's effort this season. (Photo: Mark Jordan)

Bruiser Flint has nothing but good words to say about his team’s effort this season. (Photo: Mark Jordan)

Charleston’s second-half adjustments, combined with sheer fatigue, gave the Cougars the lift that they needed.

“We knew that they played really well against William & Mary,” College of Charleston head coach Earl Grant said. “I knew that they would be a tough draw regardless, plus they only really play eight guys anyway. I didn’t think that it would be that much of a difference, but I did want to get after them defensively in the full-court.”

For Flint and Drexel, they will gladly put this troubled season behind them with their heads held high. Wilson, along with graduate student Sooren Derboghosian, are the only departing Dragons on Flint’s roster.

“I said, ‘Yo, get ready,’” Flint said. “Because everybody but Freddie is back. We’re not just going to have seven guys next year. I sent a little message to a couple guys, hopefully. I think we got to change trainers.”

“The guys got a lot of experience this year,” Flint continued. “Which was good. I think some of my young guys really improved during the season. It’s going to be a little bit more competitive next year. We’re going to have way more people and pretty much have the entire team back.”

The gas tank read ‘empty’ when the buzzer sounded at Royal Farms Arena, but Flint’s emotions were anything but that. Instead, the longtime Dragon leader challenged his team for his 15th year at the helm.

“If you have like five seniors then you might shed a tear, this wasn’t one of those,” he said. “Get ready, because we got a lot of guys coming back for the next couple of years.”


Recruiting News:

Teddy Bailey (@TheTeddyBailey)

BALTIMORE– Drexel’s tank ran empty a little earlier than the undermanned Dragons would have liked.

Bruiser Flint’s young bunch, though, powered through a plethora of obstacles for as long as they could endure.

Following a strong first half, the Dragons went weary down the stretch as College of Charleston ended the final 3:18 on a 12-2 run to send Drexel home in the first round of the CAA Tournament on Friday night, 56-48.

Freddie Wilson, in his final game as a Dragon, scored a team-high 17 points despite showing his exhaustion late. Wilson, after dancing his way to the basket a few minutes before, airballed a 3-pointer with 2:48 to play with the game tied at 46. Charleston’sCanyon Barry sealed the deal with ensuing free throws and a tough layup.

“As soon as I jumped I felt it,” Wilson said of his airball. “I didn’t really get off my feet so I knew my legs were done.”

Playing with just seven players may be an overpowering obstacle for some teams, but no, not Drexel. The Dragons were fresh off a shocking 80-68 upset over first-place William & Mary last Saturday – and were looking for more blood in Baltimore. To the dismay of Flint, Wilson, and the shortlist of Dragons, their hunt did not end without a fight.

“It was a good effort,” Flint said. “We ran out of gas, what are you going to do? They did a good job of sort of making us play full court pretty much the whole game, especially on offense. We just got tired.”

“It gets tiring after a little bit,” Wilson said. “But the TV timeouts help a lot. Playing the whole game is kind of hard. I felt like we played great. All my teammates played their hearts out. With only seven guys I feel like they did a great job.”

The Dragons led the Cougars 29-24 at halftime courtesy of 11 first-half points from junior guardTavon Allen. Allen would go on to score just four points in the second frame.

With zero guards to substitute, both Freddie Wilson and Tavon Allen played every breath of Friday night’s first round game. After all that Drexel has had to deal with this season, Flint can only speak highly of how they have handled it.

“They never quit,” Flint said. “We had a lot of things happen to us this year and every time we thought we had some momentum, something else happened. I give the guys a lot of credit because they just kept playing hard. Once Damian [Lee] went down, we could’ve said, ‘Alright, man. That’s it.’ But they didn’t.”

College of Charleston was paced by sophomore guard Canyon Barry, who scored 14 of his 19 points in the latter part of the second half. Barry was able to toy with the gassed Drexel guards near the rim – converting all seven of his underhanded free throws in the process.

“Coach Grant has stressed all week coming into this tournament how important it is to drive the ball,” Barry said. “Especially with their limited depth. Obviously, foul trouble hurts them. The whole time was really trying to finish in the paint, and we executed that today.”

Charleston’s second-half adjustments, combined with sheer fatigue, gave the Cougars the lift that they needed.

“We knew that they played really well against William & Mary,” College of Charleston head coach Earl Grant said. “I knew that they would be a tough draw regardless, plus they only really play eight guys anyway. I didn’t think that it would be that much of a difference, but I did want to get after them defensively in the full-court.”

For Flint and Drexel, they will gladly put this troubled season behind them with their heads held high. Wilson, along with graduate student Sooren Derboghosian, are the only departing Dragons on Flint’s roster.

“I said, ‘Yo, get ready,’” Flint said. “Because everybody but Freddie is back. We’re not just going to have seven guys next year. I sent a little message to a couple guys, hopefully. I think we got to change trainers.”

“The guys got a lot of experience this year,” Flint continued. “Which was good. I think some of my young guys really improved during the season. It’s going to be a little bit more competitive next year. We’re going to have way more people and pretty much have the entire team back.”

The gas tank read ‘empty’ when the buzzer sounded at Royal Farms Arena, but Flint’s emotions were anything but that. Instead, the longtime Dragon leader challenged his team for his 15th year at the helm.

“If you have like five seniors then you might shed a tear, this wasn’t one of those,” he said. “Get ready, because we got a lot of guys coming back for the next couple of years.”


Recruiting News:

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