NEWARK, Del. --This time there was no miracle finish or NCAA record-breaking performance for Drexel against Delaware, although the Dragons staged a madcap comeback that just fell short.
With Delaware hitting 11 of 21 from three-point range and sophomore guard Ryan Allen scoring 26 points, the Blue Hens held off late-charging, Drexel, 76-75, Saturday afternoonat Bob Carpenter Center.
This was the first meeting between the two since last year’s historic 85-83 home win by Drexel on Feb. 22. In that game the Dragons overcame a 34-point deficit, the largest comeback in NCAA Division I history.
Saturday’s win appeared to be sealed when Allen completed a three-point play to boost Delaware’s lead to 74-61 with 2 minutes, 16 seconds left.
Delaware allowed Drexel back in the game by committing turnovers on five straight possessions, and the Dragons kept cashing in.
"Drexel basketball is a 40-minute program and we will play down to the final horn, and we just about found a way to do something that would have been pretty amazing,” Drexel coach Zach Spiker said. “I am proud of how the guys fought, but disappointed we were in that hole to begin with.”
Drexel’s Alihan Demir scored on a diving layup to cut Delaware’s lead to 74-72 with 12 seconds left.
Delaware’s Kevin Anderson, who scored 16 points, then hit both ends of a 1-and-1 with 11.4 seconds left, boosting the lead to 76-72. Drexel’s Trevor John answered with a three-pointer, cutting the lead to 76-75 with 3.4 seconds remaining.
The Blue Hens' Ithiel Horton, who had 19 points, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 2.7 seconds left. Demir got the rebound but was called for traveling with 0.3 seconds remaining. Delaware, which committed 15 of its 21 turnovers in the second half, then successfully inbounded the ball to end the game.
“When they were turning us over like that, it was very nerve-wracking, but we have to get better with the ball and be more focused,” said Anderson.
The best emotion for Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby was relief, to escape with the win.
“We were good enough to hold on today, but it definitely is an area we have to get back to work and try to improve,” he said about late-game situations.
Senior guard Troy Harper, who fouled out late in the second half, led five Drexel double figure scorers with 16 points. John added 15 points (on 5-of-13 three-point shooting), and Demir and Butler scored 13 each. Freshman point guard Camren Wynter had 11 points and five assists.
Drexel fell to 10-12 and 4-5 in the Colonial Athletic Association, and saw its two-game win steak snapped. Delaware, which matched its win total from last season, is 14-8, 6-3.
Drexel entered the game last in the CAA in three-point field goal percentage defense, allowing teams to shoot 40.4 percent. Delaware continually took advantage of this weakness in the first half.