Bruiser Flint's head dropped when he saw the ball spin through the hoop on the other end of the floor. He knew his team had let yet another one slip out of its hands.

Drexel allowed Penn State to rally from a 17-point first-half deficit, falling to the Nittany Lions, 63-57, at the Palestra on Saturday.

"We got tentative," Flint said. "We did what we have been doing all season. We have leads, and we play not to lose. That's what we have been doing. We have lost a lot of games like this. You've watched it. This ain't no different than the other games we have been losing."

Payton Banks led the way for the Nittany Lions (8-3) with a career-high 20 points. He had seven points in the last four minutes, including the shot that caused Flint's chin to sink into his chest with just under a minute remaining.

"He is making big shots," Penn State coach Pat Chambers said. "He defended [Tavon Allen] all night long. There were a couple times there where I had a timeout ready to go, but sometimes your gut tells you: 'Let's see if they can go make a play.' "

Drexel (1-8) opened the game on a 12-2 run that gave its offense a spark that would carry through the first 20 minutes. The Dragons built their biggest lead with just under six minutes left in the first half, but Penn State fought back to make it 34-27 heading into intermission.

"They stayed present, they stayed in the moment," Chambers said. "I felt like there was only a few possessions where we tried to get it all back. There's no 17-point plays out there. I was proud of the way they competed, cut into that lead at the end of the first half, and they came out strong in the second half."

Offense was at a premium, especially during the second half. It took Drexel more than 131/2 minutes to score 10 points in the second half, a dry spell that let Penn State back in the game slowly but surely. The Dragons shot just 6 for 26 from the field in the second half.

"They didn't really do anything differently," Flint said. "They played a little bit more zone, but that was it."

Terrell and Tavon Allen led the Drexel offense, both having more success in the first half. Terrell Allen finished with 18 points, while Tavon Allen had 16. Both had 10 points in the first 20 minutes.