BALTIMORE - Drexel guard Freddie Wilson got a wide-open three-point shot with just under three minutes left in Friday night's game against the College of Charleston. The Dragons needed the points because the game was tied, but Wilson's shot never reached the rim.
That air ball symbolized Drexel's problems in the first-round Colonial Athletic Association tournament game. The Dragons dressed only seven players and, despite leading most of the game, tired badly late as Charleston rallied for a 56-48 victory at the Royal Farms Arena.
"We ran out of gas," Drexel coach Bruiser Flint said. "We just got tired."
Seventh-seeded Drexel ended the season with an 11-19 record. The College of Charleston (9-23), the 10th (and lowest) seed will meet No. 2 seed UNC Wilmington in a Saturday quarterfinal.
The injury-plagued Dragons were again playing without top scorer Damion Lee (broken hand), and they couldn't get enough offensive punch, especially late as Charleston scored 12 of the game's final 16 points.
The Cougars kept making the Dragons work at both ends of the court. Canyon Barry (19 points) - son of former NBA great Rick Barry - sparked an 8-0 run that gave Charleston the lead for good in the closing minutes.
"They did a good job of sort of making us play full-court most of the game," Flint said. "We knew coming in what was going to happen."
Drexel took an early nine-point lead and held a 29-24 halftime edge but clearly began tiring late in the first half. The Dragons made only six baskets as the Cougars outscored them by 32-19 in the second half.
Charleston tried to increase the pace in the second half.
The Cougars sometimes used full-court pressure on defense and slowly wore down the Dragons, who had no subs available at guard.
"I did want to get on them defensively," Charleston coach Earl Grant said. "I knew Drexel was going to be a tough team."
Wilson finished with a team-high 17 points while Tavon Allen added 15, but both did most of their damage in that first half.
Allen made just one basket in the second half and scored only four while Wilson added seven points. The missed three-point jumper opened the door for the Cougars, who made eight straight free throws in the final 2 minutes, 20 seconds, six from Barry.