MEMPHIS - Drexel dropped its fifth straight game yesterday, and only a suspension saved Dragons coach Bruiser Flint from watching his team's worst game of the season from the sideline.
Led by Chester native and former American Christian School standout Tyreke Evans, Memphis trounced Drexel, 87-49, before 16,715 at the FedEx Forum.
Flint served a one-game suspension for being ejected from Saturday's 81-75 loss at Bucknell. He watched the defeat from a suite.
"The body language of some of our guys, it was like they weren't ready or were afraid to play," Flint said. "You can't be that way. That bothers me a whole lot more than the loss itself."
The Dragons (2-6) were held to a season low in points. Drexel also had a season-high 39 turnovers. The lone bright spot was the play of Tramayne Hawthorne, who led all scorers with 26 points.
"A lot of what happened was because it was Memphis," said assistant coach Mike Connors, who coached the Dragons in Flint's absence. "They have so much size, speed and quickness. You don't realize it until you are right there on the floor, and you are going against it."
Evans, who was coming off a five-point outing in the Tigers' 72-65 home loss to Syracuse on Saturday, did not start for only the second time in his 10-game collegiate career. He wound up leading Memphis (7-3) with 20 points and four assists in 18 minutes.
Evans recently approached Memphis director of basketball operations, Rod Strickland, about playing point guard. Strickland, a longtime NBA point guard, passed that along to Tigers coach John Calipari, who decided to bring Evans off the bench and insert him at the point.
The results spoke for themselves.
"Tyreke is a great kid," said Calipari, whose Tigers fell out of the Associated Press top 25 this week after being ranked 23d. "He never mentioned to me that he wanted to play point, that he was accustomed to having the ball in his hands and creating things. Never. That is a tribute to him because he is unselfish. He only mentioned it to Rod because he felt that he could help the team."
Evans wants the opportunity to run the Tigers.
"I'm ready for it and I want that opportunity," the freshman said. "It is about doing what I can to make this team better. I'm used to playing with the ball. I'm use to seeing things from that angle. I want the chance to show what I can do."
Early in the game, the Tigers went on a 23-7 run, with Evans coming off the bench to lead the spurt. He scored nine of his points during the rally as Memphis jumped out to a 25-9 lead with 10 minutes, 14 seconds left in the half.
"It was exciting to play in this type of environment against a team like Memphis that is just outstanding," Connors said. "I'm just disappointed at some of our performances."