What: No. 4 Drexel Dragons (16-13, CAA: 8-8) versus No. 5 Northeastern Huskies (10-20, CAA: 7-9)
When: 2:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Md.
TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet/drexeldragons.com
By KEVIN ROSSI
The last time the Drexel Dragons and the Northeastern Huskies met on the court was only one week ago when the Dragons faltered down the stretch and gave the Huskies a 54-52 victory. Drexel is trying to put the game behind them heading into the Colonial Athletic Association tournament in Baltimore, Md. because “the thing about the old days, they the old days.”
Point guard Frantz Massenat is the only one of the three senior starters in head coach Bruiser Flint’s lineup to have watched The Wire, but the message from Slim Charles is simple nonetheless. The Dragons need to put the past behind them and go into their quarterfinals match-up against Northeastern with clear mind and a clean slate.
“You have to learn from it quickly,” Massenat said. “The next game is one-and-done. You can’t dwell on it too much, but you also have to be prepared for the next game.”
Both Chris Fouch and Dartaye Ruffin expressed thoughts similar to Massenat. They know they have to balance learning from their mistakes and simply putting the mistakes behind them.
“We’re trying to learn from it, what we can do and what we can’t do that deep into the game,” Fouch explained. “You can’t really stress on it too much now because it doesn’t matter. We’re in the same position we were in before that game as we are now. We’re playing them again, so we just have to go in and play way more disciplined.
“We’re just trying to not make the same mistakes we made last game,” Ruffin said. “In practice we’ll go over the mistakes that we made, and we’ll get better so we don’t make them again further down the line.”
These three seniors are playing for something bigger than simply this season, though. They’re playing for their careers. They’re playing to keep basketball from becoming the old days. This weekend could be the last time the tie up their sneakers for a competitive game.
“At first you’re like, ‘Oh man, it’s coming to an end,’” Massenat said. “Then as you get closer to it, all you want to do is win. You want to win so badly. It’s you’re last go-around, who doesn’t want to go out winning? We have all the right tools, we just have to stop losing at the end of games.”
“It’s all or nothing,” Fouch said. “This could be my last game, so just go out there and leave it all on the court. This is really why I came back — to try to get a CAA championship. No matter what happened in the regular season, it’s kind of a new season and this is what I came for. Just have to do what I have to do to help my team win.”
Flint knows that this could be their last game, too. But he also knows that his guys will use that fact as motivation to come out firing.
“This could be it for them,” Flint said on the weekly CAA coaches teleconference. “Just hope they go out and play with such a certain sense of urgency that we can hopefully finish it off.”
It’s now or never. Do or die. “It’s Baltimore, gentlemen, the Gods will not save you.”
Drexel tips off against Northeastern at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday in the second game of the quadruple header from Baltimore Arena in the quarterfinals of the CAA tournament. The game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet.
-Scouting Drexel: Last game: 52-54 loss at Northeastern. … Chris Fouch finished the regular season as Drexel’s leading scorer, averaging 17.9 points per game. … Frantz Massenat is averaging 17.4 points and 4.8 assists per game. … Massenat is the owner of an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.6. … Drexel averaged one of the country’s fewest turnover per game marks this season, averaging only 8.5 turnovers per game. … They forced 11.1 turnovers per game on defense. … The Dragons held opponents to 66.6 points per game in the regular season. … Drexel won five of their last eight games and their three losses came by five total points. … The Dragons are holding opponents to 30.7 percent from deep but are shooting only 30.9 percent themselves.
-Scouting Northeastern: Last game: 54-52 win vs. Drexel. … The Huskies averaged 64.8 points per game this season. … Northeastern turned the ball over 13.0 times per game this season. … Scott Eatheron led the way for the Huskies in scoring and on the glass, averaging 15.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. … David Walker, who hit the game-winning free throws in the last game, averages 11.5 points per game. … Reggie Spencer averages 9.1 points and 6.7 rebounds. … Northeastern shoots only 32.2 percent from 3-point range. … The Huskies allow opponents to shoot nearly 45 percent from the field.
-Last Match-up: In each team’s final game of the regular season on March 1, Northeastern edged out a win in the final seconds to split the season series with Drexel.
-Prediction: Although it’s the CAA tournament and if we learned one thing all season it’s that the CAA is one of the most unpredictable conferences in America, I predict that the Dragons move on to the Sunday semifinals.
-Sound Off: Can Drexel win the CAA tournament?
-Kevin Rossi covers Drexel basketball for Philahoops. Reach him by email at [email protected] and on Twitter @kevin_rossi. Leave your comments and references to The Wire below.