Double-doubles by James Butler and Camren Wynter helped Drexel fend off Loyola (Md). in a 95-86 win Wednesday night at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
Butler had his in points (12) and rebounds (10); Wynter, continuing to impress as a freshman, had his in points (11) and assists (10).
“Cam is a pass-first point guard: If guys are open, he’s going to find them, and he does a good job looking for guys,” Drexel coach Zach Spiker said. “He can score, and he certainly has shown that ability, but he wakes up figuring out a way to make his teammates better and give them the basketball.”
The first half was mostly close, save for a three-minute stretch starting with 8 1/2 minutes to go when Drexel didn’t hit a field goal. Loyola kept hitting, and gradually turned what had been a five-point deficit into a 39-30 lead. At halftime, the Greyhounds were up 48-43, having shot 18-for-27 from the field -- including 6-for-11 from three-point range.
Drexel (5-4) had no such problems early in the second half, out-scoring Loyola by 17-5 in the first five minutes. Midway through the half, the Dragons' lead was up to 74-61, with a pair of threes by Trevor John punctuating the run.
“We thought we played beneath our capabilities in the first half defensively," Butler said. "We made a concerted focus to really up the intensity defensively, and I think that translated to our offense.”
The Greyhounds (3-6) got to within 86-82 with a minute and a half to go, but a strong layup by Alihan Demir helped to end the threat. Loyola missed at the other end, and a fortunate foul enabled James Butler to put the game away at the free-throw line.
All five Drexel starters hit double figures in scoring. Troy Harper had 19 points, Trevor John had 21 and Demir had a career-high 24.
Loyola’s Andrew Kostecka led all scorers with 31 points on 12-for-17 shooting.
Drexel next faces UMBC on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the DAC. Three of the five starters in the Retrievers' famous win over Virginia this past March, the first 16-over-1-seed upset in NCAA Tournament history, are back this season.
Injury update: Junior swingman Zach Walton is out for the rest of the year because of the right wrist injury he suffered in the Nov. 28 game against NJIT. Drexel said Walton had surgery on the wrist earlier this week.