Drexel opens CAA play on Friday night at Northeastern

Matt Leon
December 27, 2018 - 11:43 am
Drexel head coach Zach Spiker

Drexel University Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Drexel Dragons will open Colonial Athletic Association play on Friday with a road game against Northeastern.

Drexel went 6-7 during their non-league slate, staying near the break even mark despite dealing with injuries to key players like junior guard Kurk Lee and junior swingman Zach Walton.

"It's a group that doesn't have a ton of experience playing together," Drexel head coach Zach Spiker said of his team. "Only two players were eligible to play that are in our rotation right now from last year that are getting major minutes. Everybody else is a freshman, a transfer or a redshirt."

Spiker talks about strengths that have emerged on his team through 13 games.

"There are five guys (averaging) double figures," he said. "There's a level of sharing the basketball and doing those things that need to be done to be hard to guard. We can score it down low, we can hit on the perimeter, but one of the things I think we've done best is we've been able to get guys the basketball where they can play to their strengths."

Senior guard Troy Harper leads the Dragons attack, averaging 14.4 points per game. Junior forward Alihan Demir is right behind him at 14.2 ppg.

Spiker says they do need to improve on the defensive end.

"We're working on it every single day to demand it, and we've shown progress," he said. "Sometimes you play teams that put you in some different situations and distort it, but we've got to be a better defensive team, no doubt."

Northeastern is 6-6 and this will be the CAA opener as well for the Huskies, a team that Spiker is impressed with.

"They're so talented at the point guard position," he said. "(Redshirt senior) Vasa Pusica is their returning (starter), he's a candidate for (conference) player of the year, maybe the leader in that position. A very, very good point guard. Then what they have at every position is great length. They have good size. 

"All their guys have added weight and mass in the offseason. They just have tremendous length and they can really shoot the basketball. They are one of the top three-point shooting teams in the nation in terms of shots taken per game. Over 45 percent of their field goals attempted are from three, that's top 30 in America. So we have to defend the three-point line. We have to have urgency on our close outs and we've really got to work to do that."

Last season these two teams split their two games, each winning at home. 

Friday night's game gets underway at 7 p.m.

Follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.