December 17, 2020 –
For the second consecutive game the Drexel Dragons hosted a city team and this time got a win defeating the Saint Joseph’s Hawks 81 – 77. A city game meant it was going to be scrappy. This lived up to expectations.
“It’s a hard fought game, two city teams fighting, scratching, and clawing every possession,” said Drexel Coach Zach Spiker. “I thought we played well in this game, but I don’t think we played our best.”
The Dragons were led by forward James Butler who recorded his 27th career double-double scoring 21 points and pulling down 16 rebounds, which tied his career-high. The early part of the game went in the direction of Drexel who would lead by 16 points. It was an improvement over the start of the La Salle game.
“We wanted to come out and make sure we hit first in this game,” Butler said.
Then the game evolved into a game of runs for each team. The Hawks got back into it. Then neither team could make buckets. Anthony Longpre gave Saint Joe’s a 68 – 66 lead on his three-point play at the 7:59 mark. That would be the last field goal for the Hawks. A basket by Camren Wynter with 5:54 remaining tuned out to be the final basket for the Dragons. That put his team ahead 71 – 70. The contest would have to be decided at the foul line. Free throws were the only points scored over the last six minutes by both teams. Drexel hit 10 of 12 while Saint Joe’s was 7 of 12. Hence the final margin.
“We’ve been in those situations over the last couple of years and things haven’t gone our way,” Spiker said. “When yo go 21 for 26 you put yourself in a position to salt the game away, We were able to get to the line and to do that was big.”
Saint Joseph’s returned to the court for the first time in three weeks. If there was rust it was on offensive execution especially at the three-point line. The Hawks made none of seven in the first half. Then improved to 4 of 17 in the second half. Ryan Daly led the way with a season-high 30 points. The Hawks trailed 44 – 37 at intermission. They got their last lead with 6:22 on the clock. The reason was the defense looked to be coming together.
“I thought we had incredible possessions on defense,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Billy Lange. “Really, really good possessions defensively. We got connected there.”
Wynter added 14 points for Drexel and handed out a season-high 7 assists. T.J. Bickerstaff contributed 13 points.
Taylor Funk pulled down a season-best 8 rebounds to go along with14 points for the Hawks.. Rahmir Moore and Jordan Hall recorded 4 assists each. Moore scored 12 points.
The Dragons (4 – 2) and the Hawks (0 – 3) have a quick turnaround. On Saturday Drexel travels to Farleigh Dickinson while Saint Joseph’s, still seeking their first win, goes to Villanova.
Written By: Glenn Papazian