The Drexel Dragons have won 19 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in the country, but that is in serious jeopardy Monday night in the championship game of the Colonial Athletic Association, thanks to the terrorizing defense of the Va. Commonwealth Rams. Shaka Smart's patented "havoc" defense has led to 12 first-half Dragon turnovers, and the Rams lead 35-19.
The key to Smart's defense is active hands and lots and lots of trapping, and it's working perfectly. The Rams have eight steals, three by Darius Theus, who also has 10 points and three assists to lead VCU. Here's a great montage put together by the ESPN crew broadcasting the game that epitomizes how the Rams have harangued the Dragons into so many turnovers.
That's the same style of play that keyed VCU's run to the Final Four last year, even though just one starter — Bradford Burgess, who has four points, two rebounds and two steals — remains from that team. It's safe to say the Dragons, who beat VCU in their only previous contest this year, have been caught with their pants down.
The only good thing going for the Dragons in the first half was the play of guard Frantz Massenat, who was relentless in attacking VCU's pressure, and was able to score eight points to lead his team. Someone else will have to step up if the Dragons are going to have a chance to come back in this one.