Drexel received an early-season litmus test when it hosted Abilene Christian at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. The Dragons answered the test early with one of their best halves of offense this season. Threes were falling, so were the free throws, and sophomore guard Cam Wynter was pushing the pace offensively like a cheetah on roller skates en route to the 86-83 win.
Drexel’s offense was clicking on all cylinders, but the defense allowed the Wildcats to hang around. Abilene Christian took a 73-68 lead after a 9-0 run late in the second half, but the Drexel defense stepped up and senior guard Zach Walton made the game-tying layup with 20.4 seconds left to force overtime.
Walton continued his clutch ways in overtime and hit the game-winning three at the top of the key with two seconds remaining to secure the victory.
Keys to the game
Walton led the Dragons with 22 points and seven rebounds and junior forward James Butler secured his second straight double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Senior forward Sam Green also finished in double figures with 11 points.
The defense held Abilene Christian to 2-of-7 shooting in overtime, and the Dragons had 12 more free throw attempts in the game.
“When I released it, it felt good. They were going to give me that, and I shot it,” Walton said.
“You don’t need the right play drawn up when you have good players,” coach Zach Spiker said. “We’re not going to call timeout and let anybody set up for us. We’re going to be on our heels, play down, and attack.”
“I don’t know if this feels like a November game or a March game, but I know that team has been to the tournament a lot,” Spiker said. “I don’t know if people in Philadelphia recognize that on the schedule, but this is a great win for us in November.”
What it means
Drexel has depth. The bench scored 40 points. It was their third consecutive game with at least 20 bench points. Walton led the unit, but five other reserves also scored.
Turnovers have been the biggest issue for the Dragons, and that continued. Drexel had 24 turnovers. The turnovers are allowing teams to get more opportunities than the Dragons on offense. Despite out-rebounding the Wildcats, 45-22, they finished with 13 less shot attempts.
This team has length, and they’re attacking the boards aggressively. Led by Butler, Drexel’s rebounding edge was its largest margin of the season.