Camren Wynter took his game to another level when Colonial Athletic Association conference play started. He’s scored 17 or more points in every game, including 30 against UNC Wilmington in late December.
However, even that didn’t compare to his performance against Elon at the Daskalakis Athletic Center on Thursday night. Wynter willed Drexel on the offensive end when it looked as the Dragons offense was below ground-level. He was the shovel that dug them out of a hole.
Wynter scored 27 points as Drexel defeated Elon, 63-41. The Dragons outscored Elon 43-20 in the second half. Drexel’s defense was at its best and limited Elon to 31% shooting.
Wynter was joined by senior guard Zach Walton and forward James Butler in double-figures. Walton finished the game with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Wynter and Walton scored 18 straight points from 1:17 in the first half until 14:50 in the second.
James Butler had a slow start, but his relentless effort resulted in 15 points and 15 rebounds. It was his 12th double-double in 19 games. Walton and Butler’s double-doubles contributed to a 44-28 rebounding edge.
Points were at a premium. Both teams shot under 40% in the first half. Drexel used a quick 9-0 run to create an 11-point lead in the second half. That run felt twice as important with the problems Elon was having scoring. The Dragons never trailed again after taking the lead with 19:21 left in the second half.
“I knew what kind of league this was by playing in it already, and I just felt like I had to be the go-to guy for us to be successful in this league,” Wynter said.
“If you’re going to be a championship team, you have to be in the top-three in defense, top-three in offense,” Drexel coach Zach Spiker said. “This was a step in that direction defensively.”
“We knew we were going to defend the whole 40 minutes,” Wynter. “Every game we seem to grow into a better defensive team, and I think today we were really locked in.”
Only a few things make Spiker happy as seeing a player take a charge. His players have bought into that brand of basketball not because Spiker asks them to, but because they’re “hungry” to win, Spiker said.
Drexel is 4-2 in conference play. This is its best start in the CAA since the 2011-12 season, when the team won 29 games and went to the NIT quarterfinals.
How much success Drexel continues to have will depend on the role players. Coletrane Washington’s recent play on offense will lead to more attention and players like forward Tim Perry Jr. will be called upon to replace Butler in spurts. The bench only provided two points against Elon, but it was able to impact the game on defense.