PHILADELPHIA, PA 12/28/2019 – The game was not decided until the end when an open three-point attempt by Alihan Demir bounced off the rim as the horn sounded. The Dragons rallied from a five-point deficit in the last 18.7 seconds, but could not get the lead and lose 80 – 77 to the first place Hofstra Pride at the DAC.
“The guys did a great job,” said Drexel Coach Zach Spiker about the last opportunity. “No timeouts we got guys where they needed to be. I liked that look, our guys liked that look. Nobody wishes it went down as much as he did.”
“There is a fine line between a win or a loss in our league. It’s a make or miss at each end. If one of our looks go, we are on the other end of this.”
The expectation was that there would be plenty of offense in the game as the Pride averages over 84 points per game. Drexel went shot for shot and played basket for basket with the Pride. There were 124 shots in the contest, 62 by each team. Both squads had more than a point per possession. Hofstra had one more bucket.
“They are a very up tempo team,” Spiker said of Hofstra. “We did a good job of getting quality looks. The ball was moving in the first half. There were some rushed shot at the end of the clock. We had good, clean looks.”
The difference was CAA Player of the Year candidate Justin Wright-Foreman who scored 32 points. After halftime he tallied 23 of those scores. In a segment of the second half Wright-Foreman 14 consecutive for Hofstra that gave them a 60 – 58 advantage with just over 8 minutes to play. The senior guard converted 12 of 23 from the floor and 5 of 9 from distance. The Dragons contained him in the first half, but not in the second.
“He got an offensive tip back at the end of the half which was a big play because with elite scorers, all they need is a spark,” Spiker said. “That was a spark to get him going. You’re never going to hold a guy scoreless who is that caliber of player. We made him work.”
Drexel countered with the play of Demir who led the Dragons with 24 points. James Butler set a career scoring mark with 18 points. Freshman guard Camren Wynter who scored 15 points and had 7 rebounds and 8 assists. He tied the program record for assists by a rookie which now stands at 160.
Trevor John scored 20 points making 6 of 13 from beyond the arc. John set the Drexel single season record in made three-point field goals with 98 breaking the previous record of 92 set by Dominick Mejia in 2005-06. The record setter came with just under a minute and a half in the opening twenty minutes when John drilled a three-pointer from the deep left corner for number 93.
“You want those guys to leave the program better than what they found it.” Spiker said about John setting the record. “We told him leave a legacy longer than your time here. Do something that leaves a mark. I’m happy for him. He deserves it, he earned it. He’s left a mark beyond his time here.”
Desure Buie and Eli Pemberton added 15 each and Jalen Ray scored 10 for Hofstra who improved to 24 – 6 over the season and 14 – 3 in the Colonial.
Drexel is 13 – 17, 7 – 10 in the league. The second place Northeastern Huskies visit the DAC on Saturday to close out the regular season schedule.
“I care about this group playing as hard as they can on Saturday for our seniors and for each other,” Spiker said. “We’ll let the chips fall after that.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian