PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/22/2018 – It was a tale of two halves. In the first half the Delaware Blue Hens could do little wrong. That reversed in the second half with the Drexel Dragons in command. Drexel rallied coming back from being as many as 34 points down in the first half to win on two free throws by Tramaine Isabell, two of his game-high 29 points, with 2.2 seconds remaining to give the Dragons an 85 – 83 win over the Blue Hens at the DAC. It was the largest comeback in men’s Division I history according to the NCAA, a win that seemed improbable in the first half.
“They came out more ready and prepared to start the game,” said Drexel Coach Zach Spiker. “Our team didn’t quit, we probably hung our heads a little bit. There is only one way to approach adversity and that is to keep fighting. Any time we had a dead ball we said it’s a great day for a comeback. And it certainly was.”
Delaware had it going in the opening twenty minutes of play. The Hens made 21 of 34 shots, and hit 10 three pointers. Defensively, they turned the Dragons over 8 times, and held the home team to 12 of 35 shooting, and only 3 of 12 from beyond the arc. Delaware took a 53 – 19 lead late in the first half, and took a 56 – 29 lead into halftime.
“They came out and made shots,” Spiker said. “Our defensive lack of intensity had a lot to do with it. Their looks were much cleaner in the first half.”
Reverse that in the second half. Drexel began to make shots hitting 21 of 37 and 7 of 13 from behind the three-point line. The Hens converted 11 of 29 from the floor, and just 1 of 9 three-pointers. The Dragons went to more pressure on defense and turned the opposition over 8 times to just 2.
“Our defense and intensity went up in the second half,” said Spiker. “Guys that were making shots had to work to bring the ball up, work to get open just to have a shot.”
“We needed someone to calm us down, be out there and direct,” said Delaware Coach Martin Ingelsby. “We didn’t get that.”
Drexel took their first lead with just under two minutes to play on a basket by Isabell, The Blue Hen;s came back and tied it twice before the free throws by Isabell. A long three-pointer by Delaware was off the mark as the horn sounded. A win by a resilient squad.
“We have guys who pride themselves on being tough,” said Isabell. “We say tough all the time, but you have to go out and prove it. We had games where we didn’t prove it, and games where we have proven it. At the beginning we were on the latter, but at the end of the day you have to option of showing what you are made of.”
Drexel got 16 points from Sammy Mojica and 14 from Troy Harper. Isabell also contributed 12 rebounds and a career-high 9 assists.
Ryan Allen led Delaware with 21 points. Eric Carter had 15 points and 12 rebounds posting his tenth double-double. Ryan Daly scored 17 points.
The Dragons improve their record 12 – 18, 6 – 11 in the CAA, The Blue Hens have the same overall record, but are 5 – 12 in conference. Drexel closes the regular season on Saturday against UNCW.
Written By: Glenn Papazian