It was a script seen so many times at the Daskalakis Athletic Center, played out with a few new twists, a little more flare, but the same end result.
Drexel University men’s basketball team, trailing High Point University by a sizable but surmountable margin at halftime Nov. 18, burst from the gates in the early going of the second half.
Tavon Allen and Rashann London powered an 18-10 run. Allen hit six three-pointers on the night, including a pair of back-to-back shots from deep, and another later to tie the game at 50-50.
As they often to, the Dragons rallied just hard and long enough to rope their gullible student section into the pandemonium, and with the game tied at 64-apiece with three and a half minutes to go, the DAC Pack stood and roared at the final television timeout of the evening.
They must have been freshmen, for this team had been here before.
High Point out-scored Drexel 11-2 in the final 210 seconds of the game and topped the Dragons 75-66 in their home opener.
Allen led the Dragons with 21 points, knocking down six of eight three-point attempts. Rashann London and Terrell Allen each added 11 points, and Kazembe Abif poured in 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Surprisingly, Bruiser Flint’s crew shot a very solid 54.8 percent from the field in the loss, a mark that registers much higher than their normal outings.
But the team did itself in from the free throw line, where Flint’s players managed to knock down just 14 of 28 attempts.
“We missed foul shots. Bottom line,” Flint said. “I told our team after the St. Joe’s game, the way they’re calling it, if you miss foul shots, you’ve got no chance of winning this year. Because every game is going to be a big foul shooting contest.
“We had a chance to actually tie, take the lead a couple of times. We got to the line, and we just missed them.”
Flint’s forwards shot a porous 1-of-8 from the charity stripe, and freshman Terrell Allen missed six of his team-high 15 attempts from the line.
Trailing 59-57 with under seven minutes to play, both Rodney Williams and Tavon Allen had chances to tie the game with free throws. Williams missed both of his shots, and Allen, a solid career free throw shooter, made just one of two.
Despite the awful performance from the line, Allen’s three-pointers and a strong second half from Williams kept the Dragons right with High Point down the stretch. They even had a chance to take the lead out of that final timeout.
Williams was called for a charge on the very first play. On the next High Point possession, Williams was called for another foul, his fifth and final of the evening.
From there, Flint’s team missed three of its next four shots and committed two turnovers in the subsequent three minutes, and the game just slipped away.
After the game, Flint was disappointed with the way his team, for the second straight game, failed to convert when the game was on the line.
“We’ve got to make better plays in the heat of the game, being able to make a play,” Flint said.
He continued, “Every time we needed to come down and execute a play, somebody went to the wrong place. I told them, if we keep doing that, we’re going to frustrate ourselves.”
When you can’t shoot the easy shots, and you can’t shoot when you need to the most, odds are good you’re going home with a loss.
But then, this is nothing new for Flint and the Dragons. We’d seen this one before.