A quick burst to start the second half and an impressive performance from junior guard Damion Lee lifted the Drexel men’s basketball team over Northeastern University, 65-60, Wednesday night.
Lee finished with a team-high 33 points on nine-of-16 shooting, going three-of-five from deep and 12 of 12 from the free throw line. 24 of his points came in a high-flying second half, including five in a crucial 7-0 stretch to start the second stanza.
The Dragons trailed by 10 points at halftime but scored 11 of the first 15 points in the second half, including seven straight to make it 33-30 with 16:55 to play.
Lee took a seat for rest with his team down three, and his teammates kept the momentum going, tying the game at 35. When Lee re-entered the game, he drilled a three-pointer to take a 38-37 lead, the Dragons’ first since the score was 11-10.
From there, the Dragons pushed the pace on offense, hit enough free throws down the stretch, and locked down on the Huskies, holding Northeastern to 38.1 percent from the field in the second half.
The Dragons couldn’t get a stop and they had no answers for the Huskies’ inside game as Northeastern cruised to a 29-19 halftime lead.
For the first 12 minutes, the Dragons’ defense clamped down on the Huskies and forced a pair of shot clock violations. But Drexel couldn’t take advantage on the offensive end, as Lee was the only Dragon to make more than one field goal in the first 20 minutes. He scored the team’s first seven points of the game.
The Huskies made Drexel pay for not capitalizing on their own defense, and began to wear the Dragons down in the paint. Eatherton and guard Zach Stahl combined for 17 points in the first frame.
Northeastern scored 18 points in the paint in the first 20 minutes, and shot 52 percent from the field as a team.
Drexel shot 32 percent from the field, including going one-for-nine from behind the arc.
Performance of the night
Junior guard Damion Lee led the way with 33 points on an efficient nine-of-16 from the field. He hit three of five from deep and was a perfect 12 of 12 from the free throw line. His 33 points were a season high.
He scored five straight during the Dragons’ crucial run early in the second half, and gave the team its first lead since early in the second half with a three-pointer. He then knocked down eight straight free throws to ice the game in the final minutes.
Inside the box score
The rebound battle stayed locked almost all game long. In the end, Drexel out-rebounded Northeastern, 32-29.
Drexel’s bench came up in a big way; the Dragons’ reserves scored 16 points to the seven from the Huskies’ bench.
Northeastern committed 14 turnovers to Drexel’s seven.
The Dragons (6-14, 4-5) finish off a three-game homestand Jan. 31 at 4:00 pm., when the University of North Carolina-Wilmington (12-8, 7-2) comes to town.
The Huskies (14-8, 6-3) return to Boston to host Elon University (11-11, 3-6) on Jan. 31, at 7:00 pm.