Just over 8 minutes into yesterday's basketball game at the Daskalakis Athletic Center, the score was Givens 12, St. Francis (Pa.) 2.
Sophomore forward Samme Givens, in his first start of the season, scored Drexel's first 10 points; his brother, Shannon, a freshman guard, added the next field goal.
At halftime, Drexel led, 25-9. The Red Flash "output" was the lowest ever in a half by a Drexel opponent.
Final: Drexel 57, St. Francis 35.
The Dragons (5-5) usually play stingy defense, but this was above and beyond the usual standard. In the nonconference matchup, Drexel limited St. Francis to 13 percent shooting in the first half (3-for-23), 26.9 for the game. The Red Flash (3-6) were 0-for-13 on three-pointers for the game.
"We did what we needed to do defensively," Drexel coach Bruiser Flint said. "They're a three-point shooting team [.421 entering the game] and we stopped them from shooting threes."
St. Francis had won its last two games, over Northeast Conference foes Wagner and Mount St. Mary's.
"Six of our nine top kids are freshmen," said second-year coach Don Friday, previously the coach at Division III Lycoming. "This was a growing moment. [Drexel] put us through the meat grinder for 40 minutes. They get irritated if you score on them."
Samme Givens was Drexel's only player in double figures, scoring a career-high 24 points on 9-for-11 interior shooting. The 6-5 sophomore from Academy of the New Church also swept a career-best 16 rebounds.
Talking about his productivity early in the game, Givens said, "Once you get going like that, your team gets confidence in you and they want to give you the ball so you can keep scoring."
The lefthanded Givens is a man of many moves near the basket, with a soft shooting touch. He was an offensive force yesterday because the tallest St. Francis players are 6-6.
"It was one of the few games where he could actually look eye-to-eye with the guys that were guarding him," Flint said. "I expected him to do what he did. I didn't expect him to have a career high, but I thought he could score the ball if we got it to him.
"He has a good feel for the game. I just want him to do it all the time. I told him if he could knock down the 15-footer he'd become almost unguardable."
Givens started because an injury limited senior Evan Neisler in practice. Neisler scored five points in 15 minutes.
It's good for Drexel that Givens was scoring, because the Dragons' five guards shot 7-for-31.
It was the kind of lopsided game where a walk-on capped the happy ending for Drexel, 5-2 in its last seven games. To the delight of his teammates, Ronald Colbert, a junior making his first collegiate appearance, banked in a field goal with 12 seconds remaining, then added a free throw.
"We will not hear the last of it," a smiling Flint said.
This was the Dragons' first game in a week. They won't play again until Friday at California State-Northridge, then it's on to (gulp!) No. 4-ranked Kentucky, now coached by Flint's former boss at Massachusetts, John Calipari, for a Dec. 21 game.
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