Final Score: NJIT 65, Drexel 53
Drexel Player of Game: N/A
Key to the Game: Toughness
Next Game: Wednesday Nov 29 vs Lafayette
Don’t let the high’s get too high or the low’s get too low.
The victory against Houston in the Paradise Jam may have been the high point of the out of conference season. All hands at Drexel University will hope that this Saturday’s game in Newark, NJ against the NJIT Highlanders was the low point. Coahc Spiker may agree, saying postgame: “We got ugly days, and this will be an ugly one where at another day and another point we will say we were there and climbed back from that.”
The game began with a promising start for the Dragons. Ball movement on the offensive end created layups and a number of trips to the foul line. They took 10 first half three point attempts, 8 of which were completely uncontested. NJIT had 13 personal fouls, creating foul trouble and 16 trips to the charity stripe for the Dragons. On the defensive end, the Dragons only allowed 37% shooting from the floor and only put NJIT on the line for 5 shots. The Dragons doubled up NJIT on the offensive glass 8 to 4. At halftime, this game should have been a blowout except for that one pesky little thing: The ball didn’t go in the basket.
The Dragons shot 20% (2/10) from behind the arc and 38% (6/16) from the free throw line, which largely negated all of the extra opportunities that the offensive rebounds created and the earned trips to the foul line. Despite the poor shooting the Dragons led by three at the half, and had they run the same way in the second half, likely would have run away with this one. Kenpom even showed the Dragons, up by 3, as over 90% likely to win this game at the half, given the game conditions and the two team’s expectations going into the game. But if the measure of a person is not how many times they get knocked down, but how many times they get back up, then most of this basketball team should be looking up at folks Kurk Lee’s height. Because it only took one Highlander Haymaker in the second half to effectively end this game.
The second half opened with a Reilly Walsh three pointer, and a Kurk Lee turnover that led to a fastbreak run out by Diandre Wilson. After sitting up 3 at the half and in great position Drexel was suddenly down 2 and in quicksand. And what quicksand it was. Alihan Demir tipped in an offensive rebound for the Dragons at the 18:08 mark and from then until Tadas Kararinas hit a jumper with 4:32 left in the game no Dragon besides Sammy Mojica had a field goal (Mojica had 7 points during the stretch). “This was our first true road game and we did not handle that very well” said Coach Spiker postgame. “They got timely buckets, they got whatever they wanted. The defense has to travel and our defense didn’t travel.”
The Dragons return to the DAC for a battle with Lafayette on Wednesday.
• Alihan Demir made his Drexel debut, playing 34 minutes and contributing 5 points and 7 rebounds
• Miles Overton has had another MRI on his knee (results pending) and continues to be unavailable for the Dragons
• Sam Green left the game in the first half with a knee injury and was on the bench with crutches in the second half, leaving the Dragons with only three guards for most of the contest
• Possibly related to getting beat repeatedly at the defensive end, Tramaine Isabell sat for the last 5 minutes of the contest
• Kurk Lee (3) and Alihan Demir (2) were the only Drexel players to register an assist
• For the first time this season, no opposition player scored 20 or more points