Drexel’s offense was humming. The ball was moving like a hot potato in and out of Hoftra’s zone defense. It was the type of ball movement that would make basketball’s founder, James Naismith, proud.
Hoftra’s offense wasn’t backing away. Senior guard Desure Buie was breaking down Drexel defenders at the top of the key with a flurry of hesitation and dribble moves. He showed why he’s one of the toughest guards in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Drexel’s turnover problems appeared again as Hofstra beat the Dragons, 81-74, Thursday night at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
The Dragons trailed 70-69 with 3:32 remaining after James Butler knocked down a mid-range jumper. Hoftsra went on an 8-0 run that included two Drexel turnovers and a technical foul on coach Zach Spiker. Drexel got a chance to get within one point with 22 seconds left, but Camren Wynter’s contested three-pointer was no good.
Butler played his best all-around game this season. He was the decision-maker for Drexel. Butler showed his jumper, drove to the basket, and found cutters for easy baskets. He finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 9 assists. He was one assist shy of being the third Dragon to record a triple-double and the first since Eric Schmieder in 2002.
Zach Walton was the biggest beneficiary of those passes. He finished with 21 points but fouled out with 2:46 remaining in the game. Drexel finished with 23 assists, but its 18 turnovers led to a 20-7 disadvantage in points off turnovers.
Buie’s mid-range pull-up jumper was tough to guard. Drexel made him work for it on 11-of-22 shooting, but Buie finished with 26 points and six assists.
“I think it’s unique for you guys to see because most teams aren’t willing to play like that for 40 minutes, so we don’t see it,” Spiker said of Butler’s nine assists against a zone defense.
“Shooting 52 percent and losing is where it gets frustrating,” Spiker said. “Eighteen turnovers, so it wasn’t a flawless game. Points off turnovers is tough.”
“It’s not easy to play against, but I think we did a good job against it tonight,” Butler said of Hofstra’s matchup zone. “As I’ve gone along in my career, I’ve tried to develop different aspects of my game. When teams play different styles, it allows me to show stuff that I’ve added to my game.”
Drexel lost its fourth straight game this season and seventh in a row against Hofstra. Each of its last four losses this season has been decided by seven or fewer points.