Drexel (1-2) vs. Saint Mary's-CA (3-0)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 22, 4:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Anaheim Convention Center (9,100) -- Anaheim, California.
Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Drexel 0-1, SMC 2-0. Away
Record: Drexel 1-1, SMC 1-0. Neutral Record: Drexel 0-0, SMC 0-0.
Conference Record: Drexel 0-0, SMC 0-0. Series Record: Drexel leads 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The DirecTV Classic gets underway at the Anaheim Convention Center
when the Drexel Dragons face the unbeaten Saint Mary's Gaels in a Thanksgiving
After posting an impressive 27 wins last season, Drexel has not gotten this
campaign off on the right foot. The Dragons are just 1-2 through the first
three games after posting their first victory (61-59) against crosstown foe
Penn. All of the Dragons' games have been close thus far with all decided by
four points or less and two needing overtime to declare a victor.
The 2012-13 season has gotten off to a much better start for Saint Mary's.
After the Gaels easily blew past Eastern Washington (85-66) on Sunday the
Gaels sit at 3-0. The Gaels' other wins include a 95-69 rout of Sonoma State
and a hard fought 67-58 victory on the road over Utah State.
The winner of this game awaits the winner of a Xavier/Pacific matchup while
the loser of each contest will also be paired up.
In just one previous meeting, Drexel came out on top with a 70-64 victory in
The Dragons' triumph over Penn earned head coach Bruiser Flint his 200th
at the school. The win came despite a pair of missed free throws in the final
20 seconds by Frantz Massenat that kept Penn's hopes alive. The Dragons shot
41.5 percent from the floor in the game including a 4-of-10 effort from
beyond the arc, while also holding a 36-28 edge in rebounding. In his
collegiate debut Tavon Allen scored 15 points which tied with Dartaye Ruffin
for the team lead.
Defense was the key for Drexel last season and thus far it has not been there
to the same degree. The Dragons are surrendering 70.3 points per game after
holding teams to just 56.1 last season. Drexel has still been able to control
the boards bringing in 40.7 per game as a team. Allen's influence will be
vital for the Dragons as they lost top scorer Chris Fouch (16.7 ppg) to right
ankle surgery earlier in the week. In his first game at the college level,
Allen connected on 5-of-9 shots, included 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and also
made an impact on defense by collecting four steals. He now joins Massenat
(11.0 ppg. 6.3 apg) and Damion Lee (12.0 ppg) as players that will be relied
on to score. Ruffin (10.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg) can also put points up and leads the
team on the boards.
The Gaels breezed past Eastern Washington by shooting at an impressive 50.0
percent from the floor, including an 8-of-19 effort from the 3-point line. The
Gaels really pulled away in the second half when 64.3 percent of their shots
found the bottom of the net. Saint Mary's also had a 42-34 edge on the boards
and dished out 21 assists as a team. Stephen Holt led the scoring with 16
Holts was a preseason All-West Coast Conference selection and has largely
lived up to that bulling from a scoring standpoint (14.7 ppg). However the
top option is Matthew Dellavedova. The all-time leader in assists at Saint
Mary's will have the ball in his hands for the majority of the Gaels'
possessions in any game. Delladova is scoring 16.7 points a contest, while
handing out 5.3 assists per game. Both Brad Waldow (10.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and
James Walker (10.7 ppg) are scoring in double figures as well, with Walker's
contributions coming off the bench. With Delladova running the show the Gaels
have been humming along on offense scoring 82.3 points per game, while
shooting 50.6 percent from the floor.
Although this is technically a neutral site game, Saint Mary's trip will be
much shorter. That will allow the Gaels to remain fresh and keep up the
offensive success as well as the success in putting up wins.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's 77, Drexel 70
11/22 10:33:19 ET