DU blows out Seahawks
Issue date: 1/23/09 Section: Sports
Whatever it was, Leon Spencer was feeling at home - soaring and scoring against UNC Wilmington.
Spencer, a Charlotte native, came off the bench and poured in a career-high 21 points - all in the second half - as Drexel trounced the Seahawks for its third consecutive win 76-52 Jan. 17 in front of 4,320 at Trask Coliseum in Wilmington, N.C.
The junior forward, who transferred from Brunswick Community College (Bolivia, N.C.) was 8-of-10 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. He pulled down seven rebounds and blocked three shots in just 18 minutes.
"It's a wonderful thing," Spencer said of his performance. "I just have to continue to come to practice hard, preparing myself for the games and staying focused for the entire game and I can do great things for the team."
The Dragons (8-8, 4-3 CAA), led by Spencer, closed the game on a 32-7 run and cruised to victory. They shot 61.5 percent in the second half - 51.9 percent overall - while limiting UNCW (4-15, 1-6) to only four field goals.
"Leon came through," Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint said. "We got it to him and he's been getting better. He's been the guy that's been giving us that post presence that we really didn't have in the beginning of the year."
Tramayne Hawthorne added 16 points - 11 in the first half - while Samme Givens had six points and a team-high 12 rebounds for Drexel, which made all 16 of its free throw attempts. The Dragons are now 32 for their last 32 at the line, breaking the previous team record of 31 straight set in 1987-88.
"Free-throw shooting is a lot about who shoots them," Flint said.
Drexel trailed by one with 9:58 remaining after Montez Downey knocked down all three free throws after he was fouled beyond the arc, but just nine seconds later Spencer converted a three-point play that put the Dragons ahead for good.
Playing against a much smaller Seahawks team, the 6-foot-8 Spencer was able to have his way on the interior. At one point he scored 14 consecutive points for Drexel, which rode him on seemingly every offensive possession.
A human highlight reel, Spencer brought the plethora of Dragons fans in attendance - most of them donors - with a slip to the rim and two-handed finish that put Drexel up four at the 13:15 mark.
The game was knotted at 29 at halftime. The Dragons trailed 27-19 with 5:24 left, but closed on the half a 10-2 run capped by a pair of baskets by Givens.
Johnny Wolf had 17 points for UNCW, while Jerel Stephenson added 10. Downey finished with eight.
Drexel outrebounded the Seahawks 47-26, while getting 46 points in the paint and 43 from its bench.