In a frantic final minute at the Daskalakis Center yesterday, ardent Drexel fans may have had nightmarish flashbacks as the Dragons took on Northeastern.
Last season's Senior Day game against visiting Northeastern ended with an improbable shot by the Huskies' Baptiste Bataille that bounced around the rim then dropped in as the final horn blared. The resulting one-point Drexel loss left an ugly scar.
Yesterday's Colonial Atlantic Association opener against Northeastern followed a similar plot line - but had a happier ending for the Dragons.
With time running out, Matt Janning, the Huskies' leading scorer, let fly a floater from just inside the foul line that would have tied the game.
"I was praying," Drexel's Samme Givens would later say. "I had hopes and dreams that that ball was going to come off."
Those prayers were answered as Janning's shot caromed off the back iron. This time, once the horn sang out, it was Drexel that was celebrating, with a 49-47 victory. The Dragons improved to 4-5 while Northeastern fell to 2-4.
"We said in the huddle that the only thing that would hurt us was a three," said Drexel coach Bruiser Flint. "If he made a three, I would have cried."
Holding Northeastern to a season-low 47 points, Drexel won yesterday's game on the defensive end. Flint's team allowed only two three-pointers and quieted one of the CAA's better front lines.
Midway through the second half, Drexel's Chris Fouch slashed along the baseline and kissed in a graceful reverse layup, giving the Dragons their largest lead, 38-32.
With 1 minute, 42 seconds remaining, Evan Neisler connected on a baseline jumper, giving the Dragons a 47-42 lead. Unfazed, Janning (17 points) answered with a three-pointer from the wing.
On the following possession, Neisler pulled down an offensive rebound and was fouled. He coolly sank two attempts to keep the Huskies at bay.
"That was good to see," Flint said. "That's been one of our big problems all year - we need two foul shots, we miss them; we need a rebound, we don't get it."
Givens scored 10 points in a first half that ended 25-25, and he finished with a season-high 16 points to go with six rebounds. Jamie Harris added 12 points and five assists for the Dragons.