Cam Wynter likes to let the game come to him, so it was no accident when the ball ended up in his hands during a tie game with 1 minute, 54 seconds remaining. Wynter got the ball off a James Butler offensive rebound and knocked down a big three-pointer to give Drexel the lead.
Wynter wasn’t done just yet. The sophomore guard drove to the basket on the next possession and put the game out of reach with a layup over a tight defense with 1:05 remaining
Drexel didn’t have its prettiest performance, but it may have been one of its grittiest this season. Hustle plays like Butler’s rebound were sprinkled through both halves as the Dragons (9-7, 2-1 CAA) defeated Delaware (11-5, 1-2 CAA), 61-55.
With about six seconds left on the shot clock early in the second half, Drexel forward Sam Green was in the corner with nowhere to go. He passed it to a tightly covered Zach Walton, who was forced to launch a three-pointer with about three seconds left on the shot clock. The ball was tipped by Delaware’s Justyn Mutts and ended up in the hands of Butler, who scored right before the clock expired.
Delaware controlled the game early before Drexel went on a 14-0 run to take a 24-15 lead. The Dragons never trailed again.
Hustle plays were heavily in Drexel’s favor.
Rebounding and defense are two of the areas where hustle plays can show up the most. Drexel’s defense had one of its best performances in the first half, holding the Blue Hens to 20 points and 32% shooting. The Dragons finished the game with a 43-27 rebounding edge.
Wynter led the Dragons with 18 points and five assists, and Butler added 10 points and 16 rebounds. Butler attacked the boards relentlessly despite being two inches shorter than the Blue Hens’ forwards. His efforts lead to a 20-8 advantage in second-chance points.
Delaware’s Nate Darling entered the game averaging 21.1 points, good for third in the Colonial Athletic Association. Drexel held him to 3-of-11 shooting and eight points.
“I knew in the last two minutes when the game was tied, it was my time to put my mark on it and takeover,” Wynter said.
“It’s everyday. We shouldn’t take it for granted that he’s a double-double machine,” Drexel coach Zach Spiker said of Butler.
“Nate Darling is one of the best shooters in the country and definitely one of the top shooters in our league,” Spiker said. “I thought we really made him work to get good looks.”
Coletrane Washington can be “unguardable” at practice, Spiker said. Washington was a difference-maker against the Blue Hens. He finished with eight points, two three-pointers, and a team-high plus 14.
Drexel’s mental toughness is starting to become a strength. Delaware had a 9-2 run to start the second half, a 9-0 run to tie the game, and a 7-0 run to tie the score late in the second half. Each time, Drexel never let the Blue Hens gain the lead.