The powder-blue pileup at center court in the Daskalakis Center was all that remained last night.
It was the result of Drexel's best offensive effort of the season. An effort that, in the end, wasn't enough. Just 1.7 seconds remained when Rhode Island's Lamont Ulmer tipped in a heartbreaker to give the Rams a thrilling 80-79 victory over the Dragons.
The rousing finish extended Rhode Island's win streak to six games and gave the Rams a 10-1 record. Drexel, which walked off devastated, fell to 6-7.
"We stayed with them because we scored some points and then got the game to where we wanted it," Drexel coach Bruiser Flint said. "You've got to finish."
Flint unfortunately had a courtside view for the finish. As the whole gym stood breathless, Ulmer barely poked the ball over the rim after a dramatic rebound that was tipped three times.
The buzzer-beater gave Rhode Island its first lead since the 11-minute, 17-minute mark of the second half.
Before Ulmer's game-winner, Drexel turned the ball over on an inbounds play under its own basket with 13.1 seconds remaining. A pass from Samme Givens to Harris caromed out of bounds. The miscue led to the magic.
"You've got to be able to inbounds the ball," Flint said. "But, honestly, we shouldn't have even been in that position."
Indeed, Drexel played well and let the game slip away. The game evoked memories of close losses to St. Joseph's, Rutgers, Cornell, and Niagara this season.
Drexel matched its season average for points per game when Chris Fouch, who finished with a career-high 23 points, drilled a three-pointer to cut Rhode Island's lead to 61-60 at the 10:25 mark. After a Rams basket, the long-distance specialist nailed another trey, which turned into a four-point play with a foul. Rhode Island's 48-44 halftime lead was erased.
Fouch's outburst was followed by three straight acrobatic floaters by Harris. Suddenly, the upset-minded Dragons held a 70-64 advantage.
The Dragons hung in as Harris finished with 17 points and Givens added 10 and seven rebounds.
Ultimately, Rhode Island's Keith Cothran, who was nearly unstoppable with a career-high 28 points, set up the wild final sequence. The senior cut the Dragons' lead to one with 17 seconds remaining.