PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/2/2017 – A new year, a new start, and a Colonial Athletic Association doubleheader for the Drexel Dragons. The women’s team played in the opener and came away with a win despite sputtering on offense. The men’s team went toe to toe with the Northeastern Huskies, conquers of UConn and Michigan State this season, but fell in overtime.
Drexel Dragons 58 ( 10 – 2, 1 – 0) Towson Tigers 48 (7 – 5, 0 – 1)
The Drexel Dragons continue to build upon their best start in program history improving to 10 – 2, and have won seven in a row. The Dragons expect a tussle in conference games. They got one from the Tigers. The ball was not falling for either team, and the fouls were piling up. Time to turn it over to the defense, and that is exactly what Drexel did. It wasn’t an artistically pleasing game, but it was a win.
“We came out flat and not with a purpose that we need,” said Drexel Coach Denise Dillon. “We did not get better today. I am glad we came out with a win.”
“We know we are going to have games where we struggle to score the ball. We always talk about our defense as the go to.”
Towson was limited to 29% shooting for the game making 16 of 55 from the floor, 32% in the first half (8 – 25). The Tigers turned it over 11 times, and did not help themselves making 13 of 22 from the free throw line.
Drexel recovered form a 32% shooting effort in the first half to finish 19 of 50 (38%). Guard Ana Ferariu led the way scoring 17 points in 19 minutes. She made 5 of 9 from the floor and converted 6 of 8 tries from the charity stripe. Forward Bailey Greenberg tied a career-high scoring 13 points and was a perfect 6 for 6 from the floor.
“Our two main scorers were Ana and Bailey,” Dillon said. “For them to create shots for themselves in refreshing for this team.”
Sanni Martin, from Neumann-Goretti High School, and Raven Bankston led Towson with 11 points each.
Drexel outrebounded Towson 41 – 36 with Greenberg pulling down 9 defensive boards, and Kelsi Lidge tying a career-high with 8. Greenberg and Lidge provided the energy needed to get this one in the win column.
The Dragons were held to their season-low in points scored. The previous mark was 60 against Saint Joseph’s. Interestingly enough, they won both games.
Lesson learned, when the offense isn’t going, turn it over to the defense.
“When our shots don’t fall, we struggle,” Greenberg said. “We have to get stops on the defensive end. Every stop that we can.”
Northeastern Huskies 75 (9 – 5, 2 – 0) Drexel Dragons 70 (6 – 9, 0 – 2)
It was fitting the the teams needed an extra five minutes to settle the issue. The defining moment came with 45 seconds in the overtime. Northeastern guard T.J. Williams missed a three-pointer with his team ahead 69 – 68. The rebound bounced deep where Max Boursiquot corralled the loose ball, then found forward Alex Murphy alone under the basket for a dunk giving the Huskies a 71 – 68 lead with 38.3 seconds left. Drexel got to within a point on a layup by Miles Overton, but got no closer.
“That was a scramble, a rugby melee, guys hit the floor and it was a 50-50 ball,” said Drexel Coach Zach Spiker about the play. “They came up with it. It was a big play. If we got the ball, we’d have been down one.”
Over the last seven minutes the game was a one-possession affair. The Dragons tool a 61 – 58 lead on back to back baskets by Kurk Lee. Northeastern tied it up with just over a half-minute left on a three-ball by Bolden Brace. The Huskies had a last shot, a long one and a close on from Williams that bounced off the rim.
Northeastern relied on leading scorers Williams who had 24 and 5 assists, and 20 from Alex Murphy who pulled down 9 rebounds.
Drexel was led by Rodney Williams who had 20. Miles Overton contributed 13 points and Austin Williams and Sammy Mojica put in 11 points each.
The three-point line was a factor as the Huskies went 9 for 26 while the Dragons made 3 of 16 from deep.
“As painful as it feels, there is a lot of confidence in our program,” Spiker said. “Our players don’t want to hear that, I don’t want to talk about that as we are competitive people.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian
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