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Givens leads Drexel past Fairfield

Samme Givens was unstoppable.

Fairfield had a plan to stop Samme Givens, but Givens had an answer.

Givens scored a career-high 31 points to lead Drexel to its fifth straight victory, 77-69, over Fairfield on Wednesday night at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

"He played harder than us and said, 'Your scouting report be damned. I'm going to do what I want to,' " Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson said. "He just plays harder than whoever is playing against him."

The Stags (7-6) couldn't stop Givens, who made 13 of 16 shots - including four old-fashioned, three-point plays - while continuing his hot streak.

"We kept giving it to him, and he kept scoring," Drexel coach Bruiser Flint said. "We knew he could post it. We knew we had that advantage from the beginning."

A 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior forward who plays bigger than his listed height, Givens is starting to resemble the player who averaged 12.2 points and 10.3 rebounds last season and was selected to the all-Colonial Athletic Association preseason first team.

After some early-season struggles, he has scored 90 points during the winning streak, upping his average to 13.3 points per game. Through the Dragons' first six contests, Givens had been averaging 9.3 points.

"I made my first couple, and obviously you feel good about that," Givens said. "Everything starts falling down, and my teammates let you know. It was a good night."

The Dragons (7-4) took a 47-36 lead with 15 minutes, 34 seconds remaining when Givens assisted on Daryl McCoy's dunk that capped a 9-3 Drexel run to start the second half.

"He's very crafty," Flint said. ". . .(He) does a good job of getting position. He's a wide body, so he gets good body position. And he has a nice touch."

The Dragons led by as many as 16 with 3:32 left but, as has been the case in several wins this season, they couldn't close it out without some late-game tension. Fairfield cut it to 70-66 on Derek Needham's three-pointer with 53 seconds remaining, but Frantz Massenat's layup on the ensuing possession with 24 ticks left gave Drexel the breathing room it needed.

"Guys are starting to come around," he said. "We're starting to get some practices now (with everyone healthy). We still have to get some guys going."

Givens wouldn't be one of them.