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Live Blogging the Tip Off: Drexel at Rider November 15, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Men's Basketball.
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3:29 am: Coming to you live from the Sunoco station at Broad and Catharine, where the journey to Rider begins. The Tip-Off Classic on ESPN is already three-and-a-half hours in. I’m with Drexel News Officer Britt Faulstick, Operations Assistant Zach Elsbecker, and Athletic Trainers Scott Ellis and Ryan Fries, and we have all decided to wake up before 3:00 am to drive to Lawrenceville, New Jersey for the Dragons’ season opener at Rider as part of this burgeoning annual ESPN event.

We’ll be updating throughout the morning on the road to Rider and from the arena. So keep your laptop refreshed next to the TV. Welcome back college basketball!

3:47 am: First stop: campus, where we pick up Assistant Director of Compliance Jesse Potter and Business Assistant Rachael Behrndt. Now back on Market Street, heading for 676 and up 95 to Jersey.

4:33 am: Arrived at Rider. Setting things up in the parking lot. There is a loud group of Rider students somewhere off in the distance, but we’ve got the breakfast set up all ready to go. Less than an hour and a half until tip!

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5:01 am: Chef Britt cooking up some ham, egg and cheese biscuits. This is getting real.

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5:20 am: Sports Information Graduate Assistant Chris Schieve has arrived, with his pickup truck and boom box in tow. If we weren’t awake already, we are now.

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5:54 am: And here we are. Big crowd already on hand as the CS Northridge/Hawaii game wraps up on ESPN in the lobby. Several Dragons WBB players are on hand to support the men as the season tips off. Here we go!

6:04 am: The Dragons are introduced. Packed crowd here in the tiny Alumni Gym. Gonna be a fun atmosphere…this place makes the DAC look like MSG.

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6:11 am: Just over three minutes in and Damion Lee has the Dragons’ first points of the season with a putback layup. 2-2 early on.

6:24 am: 11:07 to play in the first and the score is tied, 9-9. Call me crazy, but both teams look…a little tired. Shooting is a little cold and guys seem a half step slow. Still, there have been some good looks, including a block for Kazembe Abif on his first play with the Dragons. Don’t have numbers in front of me, but it feels like Drexel is doing a very good job on the offensive boards. Speaking of what it feels like…it is sweltering in here. A packed house will do that. The far sideline is completely full of Rider students, leaving half this side for Drexel and half for paying fans. Not sure if that’s the normal set up here, but it is a great noise factory right now.

6:41 am: That offensive board work has dried up and Drexel is facing a seven-point deficit after Rider goes on a 9-0 run. Bruiser Flint calls a timeout with his team in a bit of early foul trouble (Ruffin, McCoy and Abif each have two).

6:50 am: 1:15 to play in the half and Drexel has cut the lead to two, doing a good job in some chaotic situations where Rider knocked the ball out but couldn’t come up with the steal, and the Dragons found open men underneath. Rider calls a timeout now to resettle.

6:54 am: Drexel goes on a 10-3 run to close the half, and we are tied at 28. Nice resolve by the Dragons in the face of foul trouble and with a loud, hostile home crowd in their faces. Lee and Derrick Thomas did a great job during that run, especially defensively.

7:01 am: Givens has 8 points to lead the Dragons at the break. Lee has 7, along with 7 boards.

7:13 am: Drexel scores the first four points of the second half to take a four-point lead, it’s biggest of the game.

7:16 am: Givens is taking over now, scoring the last five points to make it 37-29 Dragons.

7:33 am: Franz Massenat just smoothly stepped into a three from the left wing and gave Drexel its largest lead of the night – err…morning – at nine. Then after a stop, Lee came down, put in a bucket and was fouled. He’ll have a free throw to make it a 12-point game after the timeout. 51-40 Dragons with 11:25 to go.

7:44 am: Drexel fans start the “where you going?” chant as a handful of Rider students head for the exits. Still a little early for that (both the taunting and the leaving), with Drexel up 60-44 and 7:48 to play.

7:51 am: Offensive rebounding keyed the Dragons’ big run, and now they can’t keep Rider from collecting their own offensive boards. 6:09 to play and they’ll have a free throw to cut the lead to 10. Givens just picked up his fourth foul.

7:58 am: A Franz leaner, a steal and a breakaway dunk for Lee brings the lead back up to 69-54 with 3:00 to play. That might have been the dagger as Rider calls timeout and the student section really starts to empty out. Eight am classes maybe?

8:08 am: Franz fouls out, but this is all but over as the Dragons lead by 18 with 44.7 seconds to go.

8:10 am: And it is all over from Rider. The Dragons win it, 80-62 and get their season off to a great start on national tv. Nice to have a win in your pocket at a time of day when you’d normally be just getting ready for work. The Dragons’ reward is a trip to the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.

Thanks to everyone who checked in this morning! Until next time, Go Dragons!

A Player to Watch November 11, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Women's Basketball.
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The women’s basketball season tips off for real tonight, as the Dragons host Long Island in the first round of the Preseason WNIT. This promises to be an exciting year for the Dragons with four seniors leading the way for a team looking to recapture the CAA title and return to the NCAA Tournament.

One of those seniors, Kamile Nacickaite, was featured in a recent ESPN article by Graham Hays, in which Hays called Nacickaite one of the “Top mid-major players to watch.

In the story, Hays has this to say about the Drexel senior:

Schools shifting conferences is all the rage these days, but there’s no truth to the rumor that Drexel applied to play in the next European championship. Following in the footsteps of former Drexel standout Gabriela Marginean on a roster that rarely lacks for international flavor, Nacickaite is poised for big things this season. The Lithuanian guard averaged 17.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season as a junior. She shot an astounding 47.8 percent from the 3-point line on 157 attempts, compared to 40.7 percent on 295 2-point attempts.

One other CAA player makes Hays’ list, VCU’s Courtney Hurt. Local fans might also be interested in Temple’s Shey Peddy, who was included in the rundown.

The DAC is getting ready for tip off tonight! If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by to see Nacickaite and the rest of the Dragons as they tip off the year. In the meantime, here’s a look at the season with head coach Denise Dillon in her first Coaches Show:

Kenny’s Game November 4, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Men's Soccer.
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Last week, as they sat waiting for word on whether or not their game with James Madison would be postponed (it was), the men’s soccer team found themselves with a little time on their hands. Not being one to sit around and do nothing, Ken Tribbett took charge of creating a new game to pass the time. Naturally, it became known as “Kenny’s Game.”

Similar to cornhole or horseshoes, the game involved teams of three trying to hit their opponent’s target or come closest to doing so. The targets, set up on tables in the team lounge, were stacks of 10 practice cones, with each player getting one shot per turn. Players got points for landing on the table (much harder than you might think), glancing off the target, leaning on the target, and a maximum of 10 points for landing directly on top of the target.

The teams were made up of Tribbett, Andrew Goldberg and trainer Scott Ellis on one side:

And John Boswell, Phillip Hagerty and assistant coach Cory Robertson on the other.

Not surprisingly, Ken took control early of his own game, with his team jumping out to a big lead early on the strength of a couple glancing blows and Ellis’ ability to land on the slick table surface. But momentum seemed to shift when a controversial ruling by Ken – it is his game, after all – negated a 10-point shot by Hagerty. Apparently Tribbett had called for a timeout to collect discs just before Hagerty released his shot, which landed perfectly on the stack of yellow cones on the opposite table.

The 10 points did not count, but Hagerty and the challengers had found their stroke. Soon, they were piling up the table shots and had quickly chipped away at the lead until they were dead even. Playing to 21, they pulled away late and won with a six-point turn, 21-16.

Despite his loss in the first officially-recognized playing of Kenny’s Game, Tribbett hopes that the game will soon be sweeping the nation. Is a TV deal in the works? Possibly. But for now, it’s sure to be a time-wasting tradition in the Drexel men’s soccer locker room.