PHILADELPHIA, PA 11/10/2019 – It was the first ever meeting between the Abilene Christian University Wildcats and the Drexel Dragons. Maybe there should be more? With just 2 seconds left in overtime Dragons forward Zach Walton hit a three-point jumper from straight away to give his team an 86 – 83 win at the DAC.
“It wasn’t exactly the play we drew up but they were denying Cam (guard Camren Wynter) the ball. There wasn’t a lot of time left. They sagged off and I just shot it. Luckily, it went in.”
Walton led the Dragons with a career-best 22 points.
Ironic after being plagued by turnovers the last possession for Drexel came after an ACU turnover with 28 seconds remaining in the extra period.
Drexel had 13 less shots due to committing 24 turnovers. ACU had a 21 – 10 edge in points off turnovers. How did the Dragons erase that advantage? By getting to the foul line. The hosts made 24 of 32 free throws while the visitors were 14 of 20.
“It was huge,” said Drexel Coach Zach Spiker about getting to the line. “They way they were defending us, I’d rather drive it and get fouls and get to the line than take crazy shots. Our guys did a great job of recognizing that and stayed aggressive.”
With a little over 6 minutes to play in the second half the Wildcats held a 73 – 68 lead thanks to a 9 – 0 run that lasted 3:44. Drexel got back into the game making 5 of 6 from the line. Walton had four of those free throws. The issue was still undecided with ACU having a late lead. Walton converted a layup to tie the game at 77, then blocked a last second attempt by Reggie Miller sending the game to an extra five minutes.
In the overtime Drexel never led until the end. James Butler tied it with a layup at 83 with 1:14 on the clock. Abilene Christian had two chances to get a lead, but an offensive foul and a lost ball gave another chance to the home team.
On the glass the Dragons had a 45 – 22 lead, 11 -4 on the offensive glass. Butler had a game-high 13 rebounds. Walton took down 7 boards.
“We have been aggressive on the glass,” said Spiker. “We have guys who have great length and go after it. And when you have a guy who will go out and get thirteen a night, that makes us a better rebounding team.”
Butler scored 13 points to match his rebound total in getting the 8th double-double of his career. Sam Green matched his highest scoring total getting 11. Camren Wynter dished a game-best 6 assists.
Payten Ricks scored a career-high 29 points for the Wildcats making 10 of 20 from the floor and 5 of 12 from beyond the arc.. Clay Gayman set a career-mark getting 21 points. Philadelphian Mahki Morris returned home and got 2 points.
Drexel improves to 2 – 1 on the season. They take to the road to play Rutgers and Stephen F. Austin before returning to the DAC to face Bryant on November 20th. They take a momentum building win over a quality opponent with them on the trip.
“We did enough to win,” said Spiker. “We have a saying; sometimes you, sometimes me, always us. That was a program effort.”
“This is a great win for us in November.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian