Drexel Downs the Elon Phoenix 62 – 50 in CAA Opener
PHILADELPHIA, PA 12/29/2022 –
The curtain raiser for the Drexel Dragons in league play resulted in a win at the DAC. This is a new part of the season for the young Dragons and it meant an exciting start to CAA basketball.
“I think it means to get off to a good start especially now with a new group,” said Drexel forward Amari Williams. “Not many of them had been in a conference setting before. It gives us confidence going into the next game.”
The junior forward led the team in rebounds getting 14 and assists handing out six, which equaled a career-high. Williams blocked 4 shots to tie a season-high. He scored 10 points giving him 5 double-doubles this season.
Where the Game Tilted
In a tight battle where neither team took control, the game went in the direction of the Dragons early in the second half. An Elon one-point lead was erased at the 17:21 mark on a Williams hook shot that started a 13 – 2 Drexel run. The forward from England scored the first three baskets of the crucial stretch with shots close to the basket. He got an offensive rebound and put home a layup at the 16:44 mark, then snagged an offensive board off a turnover and put it home 22 seconds later.
“I think offensive rebound stick backs are huge,” Spiker emphasized. “His size, Amari has the ability to affect the game defensively. He flirted with a triple-double tonight. He had his hand in a lot of stuff.”
Phoenix guard Sean Halloran, who contributed 11 points, scored with just over 15 minutes to go, but the Dragons answered with a basket by Garfield Turner, then a jumper by Luke House to take a double-digit lead.
Balanced Scoring Aided the Dragons
House, a senior, followed his 25-point performance against Delaware State getting 11 points on 4 of 7 shooting and 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. Junior Lamar Oden, Jr. also added 11 points. Guard Coltrane Washington led Drexel with 12 points. Of the ten players who played for the Dragons, nine scored. It is a boost for the Dragons offense when points come from many sources,
“I think our balance is our strength,” Spike said. “It’s not one player that you wake up and say this is how you stop Drexel. Any given day, it could be a number of our shooters. We’ve got a lot of different guys and that’s what team is about. It’s an acronym; Together Everyone Achieves More. It’s not just a word. And we live that.”
Overall, Drexel shot 42.3% (22 of 52) and 11 of 31 from deep.
The Defensive End of the Floor
Elon made 19 of 49 field goal attempts (38.8%) and sank only 5 of 15 three-pointers.
With 6:25 remaining Phoenix guard Max Mackinnon, who scored 11 points, made a short jumper to bring Elon to within 54 – 45. It would be their last points until 45 seconds remained. Drexel did not score much either, but they closed out the game not allowing a late charge by the opposition.
“Typical Drexel basketball game,” Spiker said. “For years Drexel is about defense and I think we exemplify that. We did a great job with our defense.
And Williams would be protecting the back line swatting away shots if needed, a source of pride for him.
“A lot of pride, especially from last year,” said Williams. “Everyone is looking at me as a defensive player. So, I come out there altering shots and things like that I take into the game defensively.”
Drexel (7 – 6, 1 – 0) stays at home for a CAA game against William & Mary on New Year’s Eve at 2 PM.
Elon (2 – 11, 0 – 1) has a game at Delaware, same day, same time.
Written By: Glenn Papazian