On the surface, Drexel did everything right to earn a win over Fairfield yesterday - short of putting the ball in the net.

Unfortunately, as the Dragons found out, the latter happens to be the most important factor to earning a win.

Through offensive rebounding and clutch shooting late in regulation, the visiting Dragons were able to create a bit of a nailbiter before succumbing to the Stags, 66-60, in the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn.

"We had our opportunities, we just didn't convert," said Drexel coach Bruiser Flint. "We've got to finish our chances and we just couldn't find a way to do that today."

Drexel (2-3) managed to close within one, 61-60, with less than a minute remaining, but a costly turnover at the 22 second mark, coupled with Fairfield converting crucial free throws down the stretch, marred a Dragons performance in which they accounted for 22 offensive rebounds (48 total) and eight steals.

"Our rebounding was good today, especially on the defensive end, but you can't miss every shot and expect to win the game," Flint said.

Freshman forward Samme Givens (seven points) snagged a career-high 11 rebounds - seven offensive - to lead the Dragons, with junior forward Evan Neisler adding 10.

Gerald Colds and Scott Rodgers both finished with 12 points, but as a whole Drexel shot just 32 percent from the field (25-for-78).

The win was the seventh in a row for Fairfield, which was led by double-double efforts from Anthony Johnson (14 points, 16 rebounds) and Greg Nero (11 points, 11 rebounds).

Next up, the Dragons host another conference foe in Niagara (7-2), which will enter the Daskalaskis Athletic Center after claiming a 70-55 win over South Florida last night. *