GAME NOTES: The Davidson Wildcats travel to the City of Brotherly Love to take on the Drexel Dragons in a non-conference tilt at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
The Wildcats concluded their recent three-game homestand with consecutive wins, most recently taking down UNC-Wilmington with a 77-61 decision on Dec. 15. Jake Cohen led four players in double figures with 21 points. Free throws were a key factor, as Davidson converted 16-of-20 attempts, led by Cohen who sank all eight of his tries. The Seahawks finished the game just 4-of-10 from the charity stripe. UNCW was able to get within three on separate occasions early in the second half, but Davidson responded with an 11-2 run to stretch its lead back to double digits with 12:20 remaining and never trailed by fewer than nine points the rest of the way.
Leading Davidson this season are the reigning Southern Conference Players of the Year, De'Mon Brooks and Jake Cohen. Brooks leads Davidson's offense with 15.2 points per game while pulling down 6.8 rebounds per contest. Cohen is also in double figures with 12.3 points per game. A career 88.1 percent shooter at the charity stripe, Nik Cochran has made 34-of-36 attempts (.944) this year and 50 of his last 53 free throws dating back to last season. As a team, the Wildcats are shooting 78.4 percent from the stripe, which is good for sixth-best nationally. The Wildcats are a deep team, as nine players average at least 19 minutes per game. They also shoot the ball well, connecting on 44.5 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from beyond the arc, along with their aforementioned free-throw shooting prowess.
The only previous meeting between these two teams came in the Comcast Lobo Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Dec. 29, 2000, and Drexel won that one in a 70-67 final.
The Dragons come into the game with a 3-7 mark after falling to Fairfield, 69-58, last Sunday. After trailing at the half, the Dragons took the lead in the early minutes of the second half, but a 16-1 run by the Stags gave them control of the game. Damion Lee led Drexel with 15 points but struggled from the floor, making just 4-of-15 shots. Frantz Massenat tacked on 11 points, but was just 2-of-9 from the field. Dartaye Ruffin scored 10 points, while Daryl McCoy continued his strong play with eight points and eight rebounds. The Dragons shot just 38 percent from the floor in the game.
Lee leads the team with 17.6 points per game and has averaged better than 20 points per game since the injury to Chris Fouch. Lee has a club-best 16 3- pointers. Massenat averages 13.2 points and is among the CAA's leaders with 4.4 assists per game. Daryl McCoy has played well of late, and the senior leads the team in rebounding (7.8) and has 29 boards in his last three games. Dartaye Ruffin is Drexel's primary post threat with 8.9 points per game and is second behind McCoy with 6.9 rebounds per game.
Drexel has been winless at home early in the season and Davidson will look to continue those troubles. The Wildcats shoot the ball well and can rebound. If the game is close, expect Davidson's exceptional free-throw shooting to rule the day and give the visitors the victory.