The Drexel University men’s basketball team hosted the University of North Carolina Wilmington Feb. 7. The first half was a back and forth battle, with both teams trading baskets. The largest lead was six points in favor of Drexel, but UNCW was able to get within one point by halftime. Leading the Dragons in the first half was junior Alihan Demir who lead all scorers in the first half with eight points.
While the first half was low scoring, the second half brought a lot more firepower, especially from the Dragons. The scoring onslaught from Drexel in the second half included seven three-pointers, and they shot 48.3 percent from field goal range as a team. Leading the Dragons in the second half was graduate transfer Trevor John who scored all 14 of his points in the half including four shots from downtown.
Head coach Zach Spiker’s defensive game plan was executed perfectly in the second half as the Dragons held UNCW to only 40 percent shooting from the field and just one three-pointer in the second half. Amazingly UNCW only hit two three-pointers in the entire game. The final score of the game was 69-57 in favor of Drexel. The victory moved Drexel into a tie for fourth place in the Colonial Athletic Association conference. Demir led the Dragons in scoring with 20 points to go along with eight rebounds. Sophomore James Butler was a menace on the boards for the Dragons, grabbing 15 rebounds and adding 11 points.
The Dragons next game came against the College of Charleston Feb. 9. In the first half the Dragons struggled to keep up with Charleston, falling behind by 12 at halftime. Charleston senior Jarrell Brantley was on fire in the first half, going for 14 points on 6-11 shooting. Despite being down by 12 points, senior Troy Harper led the Dragons in scoring with 14 points on 4-6 shooting and a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line.
In the second half the Dragons used their signature move from the season — yet another second half comeback. The Dragons outscored Charleston 50-40 in the frame, led by Harper who scored 16 points in the second half adding to his already spectacular night. After being down by 11 points with about two minutes to go Harper shot a clean three, freshman Camren Wynter grabbed a rebound and Harper took it to the basket on a fastbreak for a layup. The Dragons were back within six.
Wynter grabbed the layup to put the Dragons within four, and John brought the Dragon’s back with a three. The Dragons even got within two with seven seconds to go after a layup from Harper.
With the score at 84-82 the Dragons had to foul which they did, but Charleston’s Brantley was hit with a flagrant for putting his forearm into John’s neck. The play resulted in the Dragons and Charleston both hitting their free throws resulting in a 86-84 Charleston lead. Drexel then got the ball with five seconds remaining but lost after Trevor John missed a jumper at the buzzer. This time, the comeback fell short. The final score of the game was 86-84 in favor of Charleston.
Drexel’s next game came on the road as they headed to Virginia to play James Madison University Feb. 14. The two teams were close for the beginning of the first half. Towards the end, JMU had a commanding 15 point lead with 2:30 to play. The Dragons brought themselves back but were down 37-28 at halftime.
JMU held their lead in the second half, but the Dragons pulled off an amazing comeback in the last five minutes. Wynter hit a three with 10 seconds left to bring the Dragons within one, 69-68. After a few free throws from both teams, the Dragons just ran out of time on the clock to move ahead of JMU, and they lost 71-69.
The loss to JMU gives Drexel a record of 12-15 overall and a 6-8 record in CAA play. The Dragons will play at Towson University Feb. 16 at 2 p.m.