Injury-rattled Drexel basketball fights through adversity

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So far, this isn’t the type of season that coach James “Bruiser” Flint and the Drexel Dragons had envisioned. Last week, they fell to their Division II neighbor the University of the Sciences, 54-52, the first Division I program to fall to a Division II school this season.

Drexel now stands at 2-5 and sits second to last in the Colonial Conference. Flint discussed the hurdles facing the team in order to make good in the standings.

“Hopefully the guys who are injured can get better going into our conference play,” said Flint. “Some of the young inexperienced players can hopefully develop as the season goes on. They’re not going to stop the games because we’re hurt, we just have to work on the little things in practice and continue to make small steps each week.”

The Dragons have had an injury-rattled 2014-15 campaign. Starters Major Canady (ankle) and Kazembe Abif (knee) were hit with season-ending injuries before the season even started. They’ve been without big man Austin Williams (foot) the past six games and wing Tavon Allen (knee) missed the team’s last game against USP.

Flint hinted that Williams could need surgery, which would sideline him for the extent of the season as well. That has left guard Damion Lee (20.4 ppg) and forward Rodney Williams (9.4 ppg and 7.9 rpg) to pick up the majority of the slack on both ends of the court.

“You have to keep plugging along and guys have to step up and be ready to play,” said Flint, regarding the team’s injuries. “The tough thing this year with the multiple injuries is that it’s been tough to practice. We don’t even have enough guys to practice a lot of times, and to add the inexperience aspect to our team along with that makes it hard. If our team was older we’d be fine, but I have a lot of young guys who don’t really get it yet.”

The team’s next four games will consist of team’s with records of .500 or better, starting with La Salle (4-4) on Saturday. They’ll head to Buffalo (5-2) after that, before playing a very good Penn State team (8-1) at Allentown’s PPL Center and Iona (4-3) back in Philly.

La Salle is coming off of four-straight losses, after having a very tough four game stretch of their own. They faced two ranked opponents (No. 6 Virginia and No. 7 Villanova) and then well-coached programs Vanderbilt and Big 5 rival Temple. Flint is urging his team to give its full effort on Saturday.

“They’re going to pay a lot of attention to Damion and we’ll have to figure out how to counter that,” said Flint. “We have to come ready to play, because we weren’t ready against USP. Our effort has to be there, because that’s how we can give ourselves a chance to win. But if we come to play like we did against USP than we’ll get blown out by La Salle.”

Saturday’s game against La Salle will be played at 1 p.m. at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

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