Drexel guard Camren Wynter had his teammates about to explode off the bench. Most of them had a look of surprise when the sophomore guard drove to the rim and suddenly tried to throw down his first dunk of the season.
Wynter was fouled on the play as the ball bounced off the back of the rim, but the aggression was just one example of the constant pressure he applied.
Leading by three in the final seconds Monday night, Drexel needed one more score to put the game away, and the ball was put into Wynter’s hands. He drove hard to right side of the basket, drew a foul, and iced the game at the free-throw line. The Dragons (8-7, 1-1) defeated North Carolina-Wilmington, 71-66, at the Daskalakis Athletic Center to earn their first conference victory.
Drexel and UNCW (5-10, 0-2) were picked eighth and ninth, respectively, in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason polls. Both teams lost their CAA openers.
There were 13 lead-changes. Drexel held UNCW without a made field goal for the last three minutes to ensure the victory.
Keys to the game
Wynter led the Dragons with 30 points as he constantly attacked the basket aggressively, using his size over UNCW freshman Shykeim Phillips. Wynter has scored 20 or more points in back-to-back games for the first time this season, and his 30 points were one shy of his career high earlier this season against Princeton.
Zach Walton added 14 points and James Butler finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.
Both teams finished with 15 turnovers. The difference was the Dragons capitalized and had a 23-9 advantage in points off turnovers. UNCW shot 17-for-20 from the charity stripe, and Drexel finished 9-for-15.
“I thought [Wynter’s] leadership, his defensive intensity in the first half was great, and he carried us down the stretch when we needed to make plays,” Drexel coach Zach Spiker said.
“I just try to spend most of the game trying to feel out the game,” Wynter said. “Down the stretch we needed someone to be aggressive and win the game, and I just tried to step up.”
“I thought we showed some mental and psychical toughness in this game today,” Spiker said. “It was a dogfight."
In the conference opener against College of Charleston, Wynter played 40 minutes. He has played 35 or more minutes in 13 of 15 games. The sophomore guard played 37 minutes against UNCW. In the three minutes without Wynter, Drexel outscored the Seahawks by five.
Drexel had four early turnovers against UNCW’s press before the first media timeout. The Dragons quickly cleaned up the mistakes and were better equipped to handle the pressure afterward. Spiker said that he didn’t emphasize it as much as he should have early, but quick in-game adjustments are always a good sign in conference play.