The Drexel Men’s Basketball team kickstarted their season on Nov. 28 as they traveled to Pittsburgh to face the University of Pittsburgh for an in-state battle. The Dragons are coming into the season with multiple freshman additions to the team in Amari Williams, Xavier Bell and Lamar Oden Jr.
The Dragons found themselves behind in the first half by as many as 14 points; by the end of the half, the Panthers had managed to continue to lead the Dragons 46 to 34. The Panthers were simply more efficient on the offensive end, shooting 64 percent from field goal range compared to the Dragons’ 48 percent.
In the second half, the shooting trend was relatively the same with the Panthers shooting 62 percent compared to the Dragons’ 48 percent. However, Drexel was able to cut into the league thanks to hitting nine of their 11 free throw attempts in the second half. Drexel outscored Pittsburgh in the second half by three points but still wound up losing by a score of 83-74.
The Dragons were led by junior guard Camryn Wynter who continued his rise from last season as he went for an impressive 24 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Sophomore TJ Bickerstaff was also impressive in this game as he went for 19 points, five rebounds, and two assists. Senior James Butler nearly had a double-double recording 12 points to go with eight rebounds.
Despite the strong performances Drexel could not handle Pittsburgh’s trio of juniors Xavier Johnson and Au’Diese Toney, along with sophomore Justin Champagnie. Johnson dominated, finishing with 27 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Au’Diese contributed 20 points, four rebounds and six assists, while Champagnie contributed 19 points and seven rebounds.
Looking for redemption, the Dragon’s next game came on Dec. 2 again away against Quinnipiac University, who Drexel defeated in each of their last six matchups, looking to add a seventh. Drexel came out on a mission after starting off slow. The Dragons locked in defensively, not allowing Quinnipiac to make a field goal for nine straight minutes as they went to have a 36-18 lead at the end of the first half.
Quinnipiac was held to 21 percent shooting in the first half, while Drexel shot an impressive 55 percent. The Dragons also were able to hit a scorching 60 percent of their 3-pointers in the first half.
In the second half, the offense of the Dragons cooled down but not enough for them to relinquish their lead. Quinnipiac was able to match Drexel’s scoring in the second half by shooting 44 percent from field goal range but only managing to hit one 3-pointer.
For the game, the Dragons shot 44 percent from 3-point land, which is outstanding and showed their ability to move the ball, finishing with 15 total team assists. Drexel dominated the glass, out-rebounding Quinnipiac 41 to 31 and showed their defensive versatility as they accumulated 22 points off turnovers.
Leading the Dragons once again was Wynter, who had himself a solid night going for 17 points, five assists and four rebounds. Graduate student Zach Walton brought an offensive spark finishing with 13 points and five rebounds. The final score of the game was 66-48 in favor of Drexel.
Drexel is now 7-1 all-time against Quinnipiac. Drexel will face Quinnipiac again on Dec. 3 in an unusual back-to-back scheduling, and then will play the home opener at the Dak on Sunday as they host Coppin State.