New year, new Dragons | The Triangle

New year, new Dragons

Photo by Kasey Shamis | The Triangle

After a solid 7-6 start to the season, the Drexel Men’s Basketball team has jumped out to an explosive 3-0 start to conference play in the new year. This included wins over Hampton, UNC Wilmington, and William & Mary, where the Dragons outscored their opponents by an average of 23.7 points, with their smallest margin of victory sitting at 15. 

The Dragons were by no means playing poorly prior to the start of conference play in the CAA, as they notched big victories over #18 ranked Villanova, as well as Winthrop and UAlbany, who both sit atop their respective conferences. However, the Dragons’ out of conference play lacked consistent offensive rhythm, which led to key momentum-killing losses to Big 5 opponents La Salle and Temple, as well as WVU and Bryant. Since the start of the new year, however, the Dragons have played at a much higher level, and fixed a large number of their flaws in their game. 

The most obvious improvement has been the 3-point shooting, as Zach Spiker’s team has taken a huge step forward from a 28.9% shooting rate in the old year to an incredible 48.1% rate since. The improvement in shooting has not come from only one player, either, as Justin Moore, Mate Okros and Luke House are all shooting above 50% from beyond the arc in at least a dozen attempts each, all making great improvements over their 2023 shooting. 

Drexel has even made improvements on their greatest strength in the first half, their defense, which held opponents to an average of 63.6 points per contest. Since CAA play began, however, the Dragons have held opponents to an average of 61 points per game, and only allowed a remarkable 34.7% shooting from the field, and 24.7% shooting from deep. 

The Dragons suffered a loss prior to conference play, as senior guard Lamar Oden Jr. went down with a lower body injury, but multiple players have stepped up to lessen the blow of his loss. Former walk-on Luke House, who has emerged as one of the Dragons top talents over the past two seasons, has been fantastic in conference games, shooting 62.5% from the field, 53.8% from 3-point, and scoring 13 points per game. Aside from House, sophomore guards Justin Moore and Kobe Magee have shot the ball much better, and contributed to Drexel’s rise in scoring over their first three conference matches. 

As conference play continues, it will be interesting to see if the Dragons can remain consistent with their improvements, and if it can lead them to a CAA Regular Season or CAA Tournament Title.