Drexel’s and Northeastern’s first matchup on Jan. 23 resulted in a 33-point road loss for the Dragons. On Saturday afternoon, Drexel played better at home, but Northeastern’s confidence carried over to the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
The Huskies made the Dragons work for every basket, and the physical blows added up as Northeastern used a late run to defeat Drexel, 77-68, in a Colonial Athletic Association contest.
Drexel (13-16, 6-10 CAA) trailed by two at the half and then 11 after a Northeastern 13-4 run. The Dragons got back within two thanks to Camren Wynter’s offense and T.J. Bickerstaff’s work on the glass.
In the second half, Northeastern (14-14, 8-8) didn’t shoot as well, but its consistent movement on offense put pressure on Drexel, which created 20 free-throw attempts for the Huskies. Northeastern knocked down 18 free throws to erase any chance of a late comeback.
Wynter played the entire game but never appeared to be tired. He made big shots when Drexel needed them, but Northeastern didn’t let him get clean looks. Wynter led Drexel with 20 points and five assists. James Butler added 17 points and seven rebounds.
Northeastern took advantage of its free throws, converting 22 of 25. Drexel finished 7-for-12 on free throws.
Northeastern guard Jordan Roland, who leads the CAA in scoring, topped his 23-point average with 25 points on 8-for-13 shooting. Drexel ran the sharpshooter off the three-point line, but he was still effective on mid-range shots, cuts, and at the free-throw line.
“They got 22 points at the foul line, we got seven,” Drexel coach Zach Spiker said. “We weren’t able to get to the line enough to make a difference. I’m not saying the officials had an impact on the game like that, I’m just saying that was a big, strong, physical team.”
“Roland is a player you have to adjust everything for,” Spiker said. “He’s an all-league guy, and he certainly played like it.”
“Better days will come because of this,” Spiker said. “We want it to happen immediately like the rest of the world does. Time will tell whether there’s better days now or down the road.”
Drexel’s two freshmen showed glimpses of what they can become. Mate Okros was getting to the rim and knocking down open threes in the first half and had eight points. He didn’t score in the second half.
Bickerstaff’s athleticism shined when he attacked the offensive glass and out-jumped smaller players. Bickerstaff had four offensive rebounds and finished with eight points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes.