New Year, New Season for Drexel

Drexel Starts 2024 With a 99 – 65 CAA Win Over Hampton

PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/1/2024 –

Happy New Year!

And the Drexel Dragons celebrate by playing a game on New Year’s Day. The game is also the Coastal Athletic Association opener for both Drexel and the Hampton Pirates. Hence, the “new” season. Drexel starts the year on a high note with a 99 – 65 win over Hampton at the DAC, and did so with a good combination of efficiency on offense and activity on defense.

The Dragons were led by forward Mate Okros who scored a career-high 20 points on 7 of 9 shooting and 4 of 7 from three-point land. He now is in 13th place in program history with 158 made three-pointers passing Clarence Armstrong.

“I give a lot of credit to my teammates,” said Okros about his offensive performance. “They found me and I think I had somewhat of the easier job of just knocking it down. I have to knock them down.”

The 99 points scored by the Dragons is the most this season against any team not named Penn State Greater Allegheny. The team had strength in numbers as eight of the first nine players in the game would score.

In the first half the Dragons set the tone. On offense the team made their first seven three-point shots. And 8 of 11 steals came in the first half. It is a matter of both ends of the floor feeding off each other.

“I think it is natural that it does,” said Drexel Coach Zach Spiker. “We never assume the ball is going to go in even on your best night. You better defend every single possession and that’s where we are going to hang our hat.

The Key Runs

The key run came midway through the first half. Hampton cut the lead to 15 – 13 on a three-pointer by guard Trey Thomas. Drexel answered by making 7 of their next 9 shots in a 19 – 6 run to take control. The three-point line was a friend to the hosts as they made 4 in the critical stretch as Okros and guard Yame Butler drained a pair each.

The Dragons put on another run in the second half by Okros who scored seven consecutive points to balloon the advantage to 67 – 41 at the 16:17 mark.

What the Numbers Say

In addition to Okros the Dragons had five players in double figures scoring. Amari Williams added 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals. Justin Moore added 10 points, 5 assists, and a career-high tying 3 steals. Kobe MaGee contributed 12 points while Butler got 10 points.

Drexel stole the ball 11 times, three behind the season high against Penn State, Greater Allegheny. Of the 16 turnovers by Hampton 11 were by steals.

Hampton was led by forward Kyrese Mullin who had 11 points and 13 rebounds for his 8th double-double of the season. Tristan Maxwell and Jordan Nesbitt each had 12 points.

Up Next

Drexel is 8 – 6 overall and 1 – 0 in the CAA. They will host 9 – 3 UNCW, the team that is picked to win the league, on Thursday. The Dragons will get prepared over the next two days, and look to be ready.

“When I first got here eight years ago, it was a different situation, but Bruiser Flint had one of the great quotes that I love,” Spiker said. “We changed some things. We weren’t changing that quote. The pressure is not to perform, the pressure is to prepare.”


Written By: Glenn Papazian


Mate Okros to the Basket

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