By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – While Villanova’s outstanding start and meteoric rise in the national rankings has garnered a lot of the headlines on the local college basketball scene, there is another city team that has been performing at a high level since the season tipped off.
Drexel is 7-2 as they get ready to visit St. Joe’s on Wednesday night, and those two losses came at the hands of a couple of pretty good teams in UCLA and #1 Arizona. This past Sunday the Dragons traveled down to Davidson and beat the Wildcats, 72-58.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint tells KYW Newsradio. “We had our moments out there, but from beginning to end I thought we did a good job. They are a great three-point shooting team, so we talked about keeping them off the three-point line. We gave up some drives, but we did a good job of being on top of them when they were there to shoot the ball. I thought that played a big part in the game.”
In that win over Davidson, junior guard Freddie Wilson made his Drexel debut. A transfer from Seton Hall, Wilson just became eligible to suit up for the Dragons and he scored seven points in 23 minutes of work.
“He’s a kid that can score the ball for us a little bit,” Flint says. “He was very patient on Sunday, which was good. Didn’t get out there and try and lose his mind and rush. He did a good job of playing within himself. He’s got to work on his defense a little bit. He gives us another body. When you lose Damion (Lee, who suffered a season ending knee injury on November 27th), you don’t just lose the points, you lose that body and those minutes. We couldn’t just run (guards) Tavon (Allen), Frantz (Massenat) and Chris (Fouch) in the ground. So (Wilson) gives us a better substitution pattern. Hopefully that can help us down the road.”
Lee averaged 13 points and 27 minutes a game before getting hurt. The Dragons have shown a lot of resiliency in his absence, going 4-0 in the four games they have played without him.
“We went through the same thing last year (when Chris Fouch missed most of the season with a broken ankle) and I didn’t think we handled hit quite as well,” Flint says. “I think guys are just a little bit more prepared this year to handle a situation like that. Everybody’s a year older, hopefully they’re better. So we’re able to handle a situation where we lose one of our better players and everybody’s got a chance to step up.”
St. Joe’s is 4-4 heading into Wednesday night’s game. They are coming off two straight city losses to Temple and Villanova.
“It’s one of those city games where everybody’s going to be hyped up and be ready to play,” Flint says. “So defensively we’ve got to be on our p’s and q’s. But a big part of it is going to be being able to handle the atmosphere, also.”
Drexel and St. Joe’s will tip-off at 7:00pm on Wednesday night at Hagan Arena.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.