All Trevor John could do was stand there in disbelief.
After John and the Dragons marched a comeback against the College of Charleston, the graduate transfer guard stood at the corner of the court with hands on top of his head as the Cougars celebrated at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
John’s potential game-tying jumper bounced out of the rim as Drexel fell to the Cougars, 86-84, on Saturday.
“[Charleston] did a good job of making us take a tough one,” Drexel coach Zach Spiker said.
“I’m proud of our guys in our comeback,” he added. “But certainly we want to be about letters and numbers. We didn’t get the ‘W.’ Credit goes to them.”
Before John missed the shot at the buzzer, a flagrant foul called on Cougars senior forward Jarrell Brantley gave the Dragons (12-14, 6-7 Colonial Athletic Association) an opportunity to win the game.
With 4 seconds left in the game, Brantley elbowed a Dragons player before an inbounds pass. Initially, the officials missed the foul on Brantley, but they changed the call to a flagrant foul after reviewing the play at the scorer’s table.
John drained both free throws to bring the game within two points, but that’s as close the game got, as his shot on the final possession rimmed out.
Senior guard Troy Harper said the play was designed for John to attempt a three-pointer from the corner, but the Cougars (20-6, 9-4) took it away.
“We got the guy the ball in the guy’s hands who we wanted to shoot the ball," Harper said. “He just missed it.”
The Dragons had trailed by 15 points with 8:23 remaining in the game. But Harper spearheaded the second-half comeback. The Neumann-Goretti product scored seven of the Dragons’ final 12 points, including a clutch three-pointer to cut Charleston’s lead to eight points with less than two minutes remaining.
Harper finished the game with a career-high 30 points, but it wasn’t enough to dig the Dragons out of the hole they put themselves in the first half.
The game started out close, with five lead changes, but the Cougars went on a 17-4 run at the end of the first half to pull away from the Dragons.
“We’re getting used to the slow starts, and that isn’t good,” said Harper, who also recorded five rebounds and three assists. “We just have to figure out a way to not get so far down early, so we don’t have to have an incredible comeback to win.”
The Dragons will hit the road next week against conference opponents James Madison and Towson.
Despite the inconsistent play, Harper thinks the Dragons can go on a run before the conference tournament.
“We have a team where I think anything can happen,” Harper said. “We can win it all and make a run in the tournament, in the NCAA Tournament. Honestly, we just got to get it clicking at the right time.”