The Drexel Dragons suffered a hard-fought loss in their Home Opener and 1st home Big 5 game last Tuesday, 66-64.
Temple’s rookie Head Coach, Adam Fisher, said it best: “The Big 5 is a battle.”
The Dragons opened the game strong, with some incredible defense, taking a 10-3 lead through the first five minutes of the game. Their roll was slowed slightly by the efforts of senior forward Sam Hofman, the Houston Christian transfer, and freshman guard Zion Stanford, who helped Temple take the lead, which they never gave back.
Temple led by as many as 14 in the first half, running away on a 11-0 run, but Drexel Grad Student Luke House helped the Dragons fight back with 13 first-half points on 3/3 shooting from behind the arc. House would finish the game with 20, leading the Dragons in scoring, and posting the second highest total of his career at Drexel.
The second half started with more promise as sophomore Justin Moore, who hit a game winner with 2.1 seconds last Saturday against Winthrop, and House led Drexel to a 5-0 run, making it 32-29.
The second half was a back-and-forth battle between the teams, with Hysier Miller leading the scoring for Temple, and Yame Butler providing some clutch buckets for the Dragons. Temple led 59-51 with just over a minute to go, before two Luke House free throws and a Justin Moore three brought the score to 62-56.
With under 20 seconds to go, Justin Moore’s fast break and-one made it a three-point game, followed by a Lamar Oden Jr. layup off an inbound play to make it 64-63 with seven seconds left.
In the final seconds, Kobe Magee intentionally fouled Hysier Miller, who hit 2/2 from the line. Up by three, Temple’s Miller intentionally fouled Justin Moore with 4 seconds to play, bringing him to the line. Moore sunk his first, as the DAC crowd went nuts. Down by two now, the sophomore would have to intentionally miss the second free throw in order to give the Dragons a chance to tie the game. His second attempt was a perfect miss and big man Amari Williams was able to secure the rebound. As he fell amongst the cluster of bodies in front of the basket, Williams missed the put back attempt, ending the game with a score of 66-64 in the Owls favor.
Drexel played a much better second-half than the first, outscoring Temple 39-34, and shooting a much improved 45.2% from the field and 90% from the line. Luke House ended the game with 20 for the Dragons, and Moore finished with 18, 13 of which came in the second half.
Although it was a tough defeat, the crowd did not disappoint in Drexel’s first home Big 5 game in school history. The game was completely sold out for the general public, and featured a student section that was so packed some students were turned away from the door. The crowd’s energy aided the Dragons in some key moments. When asked about the energy at the DAC, Temple coach Adam Fisher was impressed.
“This was a great atmosphere; any time you go on the road especially in the Big 5 is awesome. We knew going into it the place was going to be rocking,” said Fisher.
The Dragons play their next game tonight, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. at the DAC. They take on the Fairfield Stags (1-2), whose only win so far has come against Division III, Mount St. Mary’s College.